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VSHS communication students have been promoting recycling with posters, articles and videos.

The Vinton-Shellsburg High School communications class has been working on a project for Earth Day, which is today (April 22).

We wanted to 'get the word out' about recycling and some of the work being done here at the high school. We wanted to reduce the amount of waste created during lunch. The answer was to recycle milk cartons (which most people have no idea can be recycled) and juice cups. Students went to the different buildings and talked with students and staff about what they can do in their own schools to help recycle and help the environment. The students worked on stories and videos to help spread the message.

See one of the videos below, followed by the stories written by class members:

Recycling Article by Aaron, Amanda, Bradey and Rebecca

Did you know the average person generates over 4 pounds of trash every day and about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year? This is why it is important to recycle. The landfills are filling up and we need to act fast. We are trying to raise more attention to recycling. We hope that everyone around the world joins us in cleaning up old mother earth. Recycling aluminum cans saves 95% of the energy used to make the aluminum cans from new materials.

At our school (Vinton-Shellsburg High School) we have two separate bins. One bin is for milk cartons and juice cups, and the second bin is for trash. We separated the milk cartons and juice cups and counted how many we had of each. We’ve been doing this for about two weeks now and we want people to realize that recycling will help make the world a better place. People throw away 25,000,000 plastic bottles and milk cartons every hour and over 87% of people have access to curbside or drop-off paper recycling programs. If we don’t do anything about littering or we don’t recycle, then the percentages will just continue to get higher. In 2010, paper recycling had increased over 89% since 1990. This tells us that we can still do more.

We are trying to get all of the schools in the Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District to help us out with recycling milk cartons.


Anna Sagan, Zach Boison, Quinton Guenther,

Alicia Saylor, Kaylyn Grafton

Going Green at VSHS

“Going green” is a new and popular concept that promotes creating a healthy and cleaner Earth. Taking action to keep up the well-being of our planet is important because it will help our future generations live like we do. There are many ways to “go green” and help the planet. A few include picking up trash, composting, planting trees, using energy efficient materials, etc. If everyone chips in, our world will become a better place every day.

Our sophomore communications class has decided to do our part in helping our school go green. Our project has a simple, but in the long run, effective goal. We have chosen to recycle our milk cartons and juice cups bought during lunch. The project help us students to acquire the skill of addressing a message to our peers, while our peers and us are learning to go green and recycle.

The set-up of our project is simple. It consists of a 5-gallon bucket for the extra milk, a (soon to be) white garbage can for the empty milk cartons and juice cups, and a black garbage can for trash. We have also made signs and are working on better ones, to help students know which can is for what. As we have recently discovered from City Carton, the juice cups and milk cartons do not need to be washed out. Emptying the white garbage can of milk cartons and juice cups into the recycling dumpster is all that needs to be done after lunch.

Our class has created and followed through with this project because we think it will greatly benefit the city landfill by decreasing the amount of trash our school puts in it every day. We also believe this project will help create the many ideas from others that may come. All of which will help our school go green and our city become more clean.

In the future we plan to encourage and help the other schools in our district to join us. We are arranging dates to visit Tilford Elementary, Shellsburg Elementary, and Washington Middle School. We plan on presenting to them our project and ways they could get the project started in their schools. Another proposal we may look at in the future is adding another garbage can to the system for composting. If we successfully composted compostable foods during lunch, we could use it in the ag room or sell it as another communications project.

Overall, we hope that the small spark of recycling during lunch will start the ball rolling to create even more green projects to benefit our school, city, and community.


In Vinton-Shellsburg High School, we’re starting a recycling project. Starting this project will keep about 72,000 milk cartons a year out of the landfill. With all the other Vinton-Shellsburg schools combined, we would be keeping at least 200,000 milk cartons out of the landfill. As the time goes by, we hope that recycling will spread throughout Vinton.

We’re doing this project because it’s time to make a change. The landfills are getting filled with 200,000 tons of recyclable materials that could be recycled. 3 billion to 6 billion trees are cut down every year. The amount of paper that could be recycled could heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years. When you recycle you are saving about 17 trees. Recycling reduces the air pollutants in the air. When we recycle the empty milk cartons, they will get turned into cardboard, linerboard, tissue products, and paper.

We need to start recycling because the landfills are starting to fill up and there isn’t enough land to make more landfills. Recycling saves energy and helps with the global warming. When recycling you are creating new jobs. Over 60% of all the trash that end up in the landfill could be recycled. Recycling can save tons of different resources but only if they are recycled. Recycling could be the only way in the future to save our planet.

Lily Horst, Zac Baysinger, Sierra Goodell

Abigail Gloede, and Jayden Tollefson


The Vinton Shellsburg High-School Communications class is doing a recycling project. The class has been talking about this idea since mid March. On April 3rd we decided to take action. We started by standing out in the lunchroom by the garbage cans, making observations during 1st lunch. What our class saw during 1st lunch really made us stop and wonder if there was something we could do to make a difference in the amount of garbage our school was throwing away in a school day.

We called city carton recycling in Cedar Rapids, asked if the milk cartons our school gave out were recyclable. The worker at city carton recycling told us that in fact the milk cartons are recyclable. We got to thinking about how many milk cartons we have thrown away in the past that we could have recycled. On average the high school throws away about 121,800 milk cartons a year. If we would recycle milk cartons we could save 1,055 ft. of space in the landfill each year. 115 cartons equal 1 cubic foot of space.

In our sophomore class alone there are about 115 students. If our class of 2016 would have started recycling in 2003 when we started kindergarten, we could have saved 1,980 cubic feet of space in the landfill. That is 227,700 milk cartons. If we hadn’t started this project, our class would have thrown away more than 269,100 cartons over the 13 years we have been in school at Vinton-Shellsburg. That number is completely absurd.

So thank you to our communications class for starting a project that will help our environment and the people living in it. Also thank you to the kitchen staffs at all of the schools in the district, for being so supportive and helpful during this long but well worth it process.


What is recycling? Recycling is reusing things to make our Earth better and cleaner. Here in the high school we are starting to recycle milk cartons and juice cups. Our 5th and 7th period Communications classes are doing this to make our school “Go Green”. During our lunch periods we set out different trash cans labeled “Recycle” for the milk cartons and juice cups. Along with that we set out a five gallon bucket labeled “empty” to let the kids put their leftover milk and juice there so we don't have liquid in the garbage bags. Our shop class teacher, Mr.Harkin built us stands to put the signs above the trash cans.

This is a great thing because there are many milk cartons and juice cups that are in the landfill when they can be reused. Milk cartons can be turned into office paper, tissues and building materials.

On a daily basis we recycle about 40lbs of milk cartons and juice cups in two lunch periods. That means we save 200 pounds of milk cartons and juice cups going to the landfill per week. In a year we would be saving 3,000 pounds of recyclable things out of the landfill. If everyone did this, the impact on the landfills would be significant.

The main objective for us is to get all of the schools in the Vinton- Shellsburg district to be on the same page. We are aiming for the whole district of Vinton Shellsburg to recycle. Cooks here at Vinton- Shellsburg High schools think that its a great thing that kids are trying to make a difference. If all the schools would be doing this we would make a significant difference at the landfills! If we do not make a change now then we will be ruining our homes before we know it! Together we can make a significant difference!


Recycling Project

By: Cole Garwood, Tyler Stueck, Shayanna Rice and Chloe Osborn

In our communications class we are working on making the school better about recycling. To do this, we started by putting up signs by the trashcans in the lunchroom. After a day or two everyone caught on to what we were doing and it became a great success. We are sending this letter out to you all to inform you about the importance of making our school better about going green. We are doing this because it is good for the environment. Plus, there is no reason to waste all of the cartons when we can recycle and reuse them for a better purpose.

Recycling in the high school

The sophomore communications class of Vinton Shellsburg is trying to make the high school greener by recycling milk cartons and juice cups. “This is great that kids are making a difference” –Karen Ackman. In one day at the high school approximately 40 lbs of milk cartons are recycled and saved from going to the landfill, that’s 200lbs per week that is saved from the landfill. Why recycle? We recycle so that the milk cartons that are taking up space in the landfill can be reused and made into different things instead of wasting new material to make the new product. Milk cartons are made up of 74% paper, 22% polyethylene and 4% aluminum. The milk cartons can be made into tissues, office paper, and building materials. The milk cartons are mixed with water in a giant blender to remove the paper from the plastic and aluminum, the plastic and aluminum are sent to a plant to help generate energy that also cuts down on fuel cost and carbon monoxide. “He recycles” “Anyone can do this.”-Mr. Tandy

Austin T., Jared M., Kaylee D., Grace M.


Let me tell you how it all started, it might make you want to stop reading right as you start, but promise it gets better! Recycling at Vinton-Shellsburg High School, it all started when we were brainstorming ideas about making our school a greener school, there was all sorts of ideas like; turning off the lights in classes that aren’t being used, turning off the lights in the parking lot at night, getting more energy friendly of lights, and more. Out of all the ones we said none were chosen because of our teacher Mr. Upmeyer’s brilliant idea of composting! Although really none of us were for it at first we all gradually came to the sense of its better for the environment, so we tried it.

Now, we have different trashcans for different things like; one for you to dump you extra milk and juice, one to put your recycling into, and one for trash. If you don’t drink your milk and or juice at all, then you can set it next to where you dump your milk and or juice out. When we first started it people weren’t really for it, but now that we have been doing it a little while and people know more they aren’t as rebellious of it. When we first started this whole recycling thing out, no one really knew what it was so they didn’t do it. So now that we’ve made it clearer it’s more successful, and more people are recycling their milk cartons and juice cups.

So far it’s been pretty successful and people actually do it, sometimes it holds up the lunch line. That’s okay though as long as we’re helping out the environment. All in all, this was a good idea because we’re going to need this planet a lot longer and we don’t want to be living in trash. As soon as the landfills start to fill up, they’ll have to expand and then eventually the world will be full of trash.

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