Recycling Central combines students, community in effort

By Josette Keelor

A new recycling center in Woodstock will encourage a partnership between area high school students and community members.

The center, which opened Friday behind Central High School, is student run. Open from 9:30 to 11 a.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday on school days, it accepts recycled paper, aluminum, glass and tin, said special education teacher Rowdy Hoover, who organized the program.

“That’s when our students will be there to run the store and collect from the community,” Hoover said.

Expanding upon a previous school program, the recycling center was funded by a $2,500 grant from Dominion Virginia Power.

Robert Richardson, a spokesman for Dominion Virginia Power, said he expected the effort to offer a good opportunity for the community to accomplish common goals.

“They’ve been doing recycling at the high school for several years, but the recycling program outgrew the high school,” he said.

According to Hoover, the grant “kind of fell in my lap.”

A 2001 Central graduate, he said the school has recycled for as long as he can remember, but it was tough growing the student-run program when he had to keep recyclables in his classroom. There was nowhere else to keep it and the school couldn’t afford an alternate location.

Now students collecting and sorting recyclables have a storage unit in an area he’s calling Recycling Central, next to the school’s greenhouse.

“Basically, whatever you can take to your recycling center … is what we can do,” he said.

In a kick-off event Friday morning, students also collected about 8,000 canned and boxed food items in a Stuff the Truck food drive for Open Door Food Pantry in Mount Jackson.

Other school community service events have included picking up trash, working with law enforcement on the community Torch Run and running in a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot race.

Hoover said he hopes to host a food drive again next year.

Recycling Central operates like any other recycling center during operating hours, but with the added benefit of funding student field trips and teaching the students job skills.

Students will sort items that they later trade in for cash at the landfill, while improving conversational skills with community members.

“In years past we’ve only done recycling for Central, so we were never able to get out into the community,” Hoover said.

“This is kind of just the tip of the iceberg of what we’re trying to do,” Hoover said. The school currently does not recycle food waste, but he said he hopes to change that soon. “Our plan is to phase in a compost site in the future.”

Recycling Central is located at Central High School, 1147 Susan Ave., Woodstock, by the greenhouse behind the school. Its hours are 9:30 to 11 a.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Contact the school at 540-459-2161 for more information.

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com>