The Countryside Green Club began in the 2015-2016 school year and continues to thrive with 20-30 motivated students who are working hard towards a healthier and more sustainable school. They have spearheaded many events and projects including our community Chicago Textile Recycling Drive in October, 2015. The Textile Recycling drive helped to divert 2,571 lbs. of clothing and other fabric from the landfill!
This year, the Countryside Green Club is planning to implement a school garden. Their hope is to create an outdoor learning space inclusive of a sensory garden. Within our school of 420 students, we house several special education classrooms, two of which are focused on teaching life skills to the students. The Green Club wishes to create this outdoor learning and garden space to provide students with opportunities to use their senses to explore the wonders of nature, to take pride in growing and harvesting produce, and to share the fruits of their labors with members of our community who benefit from our donations to the local food pantry.
Countryside School students are currently sorting liquids, recycling, and landfill material in the cafeteria. They are also participating in the TerraCycle Juice Pouch brigade and Trex plastic film program. Students and faculty are also collecting used markers to be repurposed through Crayola ColorCycle program.
In spring of 2016, during a 15-week food recovery pilot program, Countryside's Green Club rescued 750 lbs. of uneaten food that would have otherwise been thrown away. The food was donated to FISH pantry in Carpentersville and Cuba Township Food Pantry. This year, we ended the pilot phase of the program and are the first school in our district to fully establish a food recovery program.
We also took part in the America Recycles Day last November by hosting a plastic bag recycling drive competition within our school. We were able to collect and divert 30 pounds of plastic film in addition to the 122 lbs. we collected through the Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge.
The Green Club also hosted a Styrofoam Recycling Drive last spring and collected an entire truckload of Styrofoam, cork, batteries, CDs and DVDs that were recycled and repurposed through Chicago Logistics Recycling.