One of the promises deliberately made as our founders worked on the concept of exactly what Horizon Academy would stand for was the promise to “Go Green” and to help students develop awareness and an understanding of the importance of recycling. Our internal efforts were boosted greatly when the Belize Recycling Company approached Horizon Academy with an invitation to be a part of their School Recycling Program.
Our school community embraced the invitation, and bags of recyclable paper, plastic, aluminum, and cans became a common daily sight as students walked in laden with them and eagerly collected bees (part of the school’s Character Bee positive discipline program), stickers or tattoos or rubber animals in exchange for their contributions. Every other week our collection is picked up, weighed, and documented, and at various times the company pays us
for what we have collected.
In 2012, Horizon Academy won second place overall among the schools who participated – a remarkable achievement since our school population is so much smaller than many of the other schools which participated. We collected the most paper – a feat which earned us the title of “Savior of the Forest” and won for us $300 worth of supplies from The Angelus Press. The competition among schools has not continued but our collections have.
As a matter of fact, since we started formally in 2011, our efforts at highlighting the need for recycling have not waned. At the end of the 2013 - 2014 school year, we had collected 1,058 pounds of plastic, 138 pounds of tin cans, 27 pounds of aluminum, and 1,465 pounds of paper.
Our recycling over the past few years has extended also to the plastic returnables for Bowen and Bowen. Every four to six weeks we turn those in and collect cash that is used to purchase cleaning supplies and other necessities, like paper or computer chargers. Judging by the volume of the recyclables that come in, we have to believe that we are doing our part to reduce the amount of garbage in our environment.
The program has grown over the years to the point where we have outgrown the space allotted twice already. With the kind assistance of Belize Natural Energy, we are working on plans to build an adequate recycling shed on the compound for the collection, sorting, and storage of our recycling materials. While handling the recycling is not the primary responsibility of our students, they are called upon to assist with these various tasks from time to time.
Each classroom at Horizon Academy has a collection area for recycling materials, so students are encouraged not to just throw away their plastic juice bottles, for example. They are also encouraged to re-use the materials which can still have some purpose. Our Art and Organic Gardening programs utilize both recycling and re-usable materials like cardboard or cereal boxes or egg cartons or glass jars as well. It remains important to us to teach our children to
be more aware of what they use and what they throw away. This is a continuous task and a lifelong goal, we know, but it’s necessary.
Through dedicated and consistent stressing of how vital to our very existence recycling is, Horizon Academy, our students and our parents, have truly “gone green”.