Comanche High School students are learning more than just about cars in Teddy Parker’s Automotive and Diesel Technology (Auto Tech) class; they’re learning how to recycle to preserve the environment.
Led by Mr. Parker, the Auto Tech class sponsors a daily recycling pick-up. Since November 2010, they have collected more than 56,000 pounds of cardboard, 6,000 pounds of paper and approximately 15,000 pounds of plastics in Comanche, Texas. According to the class, these recycling efforts have saved 102.3 cubic yards of landfill, 21,557.5 gallons of fuel and 217,000 gallons of water.
While traveling overseas, Mr. Parker’s environmental brain child emerged. “My wife and I vacationed in Europe and I was just amazed at the level of recycling they do,” says Mr. Parker. “On the plane ride back home, I realized that recycling would be a great way to fundraise and be environmentally-conscious. By asking people to give us recyclable products, we would be able to raise money for our causes and clean up the community at the same time.”
Every afternoon for a few hours, two to three students travel around town with Mr. Parker in a trailer to pick up cardboard, paper, plastic and any other recyclable items. They visit neighborhoods, as well as businesses. Approximately 1,000 tons of material is brought to a land fill every three weeks.
But what Mr. Parker teaches outside the classroom, he also practices in it. In the Auto Tech class, students recycle antifreeze, oil filters, car parts and tires.
“Students are extremely supportive of the program,” says Mr. Parker. “They enjoy seeing something that is making a difference for their children and their grandchildren. Future generations need to be conscious about waste and the world they live in.”
The program has a total of 45 volunteers, but keeps growing every day. Students outside the Auto Tech class are also getting involved, with elementary and middle school children participating. Members of the community are also interested in taking part. Mr. Parker believes the recycling program has become a community-wide initiative that needs to be taken to the next level. His goal is to eventually open a recycling facility that will be available to all residents.
“The Comanche Chamber of Commerce is proud of the efforts by Mr. Parker and the Auto Tech Class, says Christine Tandy Perkins, Executive Director of the Comanche Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture. “They are making an impact on the earth-friendly movement.”