A purpose to repurpose: Students launch recycling awareness project at Zionsville Community High School


Four Zionsville Community High School students wanted to make a meaningful impact with a class project to help their school. They are doing it through recycling awareness project that will launch next month at the school.

“The special part about the recycle awareness project is that the group was ready to jump on board an issue they identified and start coming up with a solution that benefits the school,” said Danielle Wilson, AP U.S. history teacher at ZCHS.

ZCHS juniors Payton Bohm, Spencer Krone, Andrew Raikos and John Gunderman started the schoolwide Recycling Awareness Program, or R.A.P., as part of the U.S. history service-learning graduation requirement. The program runs the week of March 14-20.

“I’ve always been a big fan of helping the environment, and this project has pushed me to do my part for it,” Raikos said.

The recycling project’s goal is to create a better plan for recycling at the school.

“Finding ways to promote environmental conscientiousness and also help out our school is awesome, and I’m glad we got this opportunity,” John said.

Spencer Krone works on the recycling project in class.

The students said they could choose any topic for the project as long as it was local.

“My group and I started researching and investigating environmental issues and decided on plastic waste because my dad is knowledgeable on that,” said Krone, the project leader. “We went to my dad and asked what his company was doing.”

Krone’s dad, Peter Krone, works for Amcor Rigid Plastics, a supplier of rigid plastic packaging that uses post-consumer recycled packaging, a material made from items that consumers recycle every day to use as packaging.

“Recycling today is more important than ever because of our need for packaging and using recyclable materials,” said Peter.

To utilize PCR at the local level, the students said the first thing that needed to happen was for recycling to be conducted. They partnered with the school to implement a student recycling experiment in which they will gather data for an entire week.

“We want to see what is being put in the school’s blue recycling bins, from paper and cans to plastic bottles, and measure how they are being properly recycled,” Krone said.

After counting the contents in each bin, the students said they would bring the data back to the school and demonstrate where recycling bins should be placed so that students, teachers and staff are more inclined to recycle.

“One of the main parts of recycling is getting people involved in knowing about it,” Krone said.

With Earth Day approaching April 22, the students plan to help the Town of Zionsville find sufficient recycling methods using the data collected from the school.

“In addition to the recycling awareness project, we plan to go to our local Lions Club to start a recreational service partnership to help implement a recycling plan for the park in May,” Krone said.

At the moment, the school only recycles paper, but Krone said he wants to expand to other types of recyclables in the future and use the PCR program locally.

“I feel like it’s a great way to give back to our community and develop new skills and connections,” Bohm said. “Hopefully, we will keep making connections and go far with this.”

Andrew Raikos works on the recycling awareness project during class. (Photos courtesy of Zionsville Community Schools)

Recycling 101

Why recycle?

Recycling conserves energy, reduces air and water pollution, reduces greenhouse gasses, and conserves natural resources. Recyclable materials are reprocessed into new products, and as a result, the amount of rubbish sent to landfill sites decreases, reducing methane emissions.

What happens when people recycle?

Materials are converted into new products, reducing the need to consume natural resources, which will help to protect natural habitats for the future.

What can be recycled?

All colors of glass, plastics #1 & #2 (bottles & jugs), aluminum, tin, and steel beverage and food cans, newspapers, cardboard, paper, paper/paperboard cans, and magazines. NO plastic bags or styrofoam.

Where to recycle?

Zionsville has several locations for recycling in the area. Here is a list of some of the most frequently used recycling centers:

  • Clean Earth: 6011 W 96th St.
  • Boone County Resource Recovery Systems Inc: 985 US-421
  • RecycleForce: 1255 Roosevelt Ave.
  • Worman’s Clean Fill and Organic Recycling: 10150 Zionsville Rd.