Westerville Central High School has been named a Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) School Recycling Champion thanks to science teacher Anthony Forrest and his efforts in building a sustainable and comprehensive school recycling program.
For the past two years, he has worked with his Advanced Placement Environmental Science students to build a recycling program at WCHS. The students collected, weighed and recycled paper, plastics, glass and aluminum found in classrooms, offices and common areas. They collected materials on a biweekly schedule and tracked their progress.
Students also raised awareness of the recycling program, creating a variety of educational opportunities for the school including video announcements, posters and word-of-mouth peer-to-peer education.
Forrest has developed a model program for Westerville City Schools, said Kristi Higginbotham, programs administrator at SWACO.
"Anthony Forrest is a tremendous asset at Westerville Central," she said. "He helped SWACO launch our first School Recycling Champion High School program in our jurisdiction, which is primarily Franklin County."
SWACO’s School Recycling Champion program officially launched in the 2019-20 school year but efforts stalled due to the pandemic. SWACO also collaborates and partners closely with the City of Westerville on a number of waste division programs offered to residents.
Last year, Forrest received a $3,500 grant from SWACO to provide recycling bins in classrooms and throughout the school. After two years, his AP Environmental Science students have recycled more than 16,000 pounds of reusable materials, saving them from the landfill.
WCHS is the district’s first school to partner with SWACO and become a Recycling Champion. Forrest said his goal is to continue to spread the model to the other high schools, followed by middle schools.
“By promoting the proper use and recycling of resources, our students will learn more sustainable practices and have a brighter future,” he said.