A local science teacher asked himself what he can do as an individual to promote a more sustainable community. The answer? Personally champion and create a commuting recycling program.
Charles Nadal is a science teacher at Verdigris Junior High, and is pursuing a Professional Masters of Science in Environmental Science.
“In getting my masters degree, one of my classes early on was about sustainability,” Nadal told the Progress. “I think we all know we’re being wasteful but it hit me like a 2x4 right in the face during this class. We can do better as a community. I’m on the Verdigris town council and I realized that we as a town can do better.”
Through a series of fortuitous introductions Nadal was put in touch with the right people to help bring his idea of a community recycling center to life.
“We had a number of guest speakers come speak to us in class. One of them was the director of a recycling facility in Tulsa. He put me in touch with Chris Webber from Pepsi Co. Chris has helped me out a lot. He’s put me in touch with Larry Langford from the city of Owasso,” said Nadal, adding that he was in constant communication with Verdigris city and school leadership.
“My initial thought was to put a recycleing program in that we as a community can jump in on and have as our own but it’s expensive to get started. Chris said he could hook us up with the city of Owasso who has several trailers and we could create a cooperative. From there the dominos just all fell right in place . The community seems ready for something like this.”
Through a partnership with the city of Owasso and PepsiCo, a recycling drop off trailer will be parked on the northeast corner of the Verdigris Junior High Parking lot, between the school and the baseball field.
Cardboard/paper products, plastics, aluminum cans, and glass can be sorted into the designated compartments within the trailer.
“The whole goal is a more sustainability,” he said. “I asked myself what I could do to promote a more sustainable community, and this is it.”
He said the feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive.
As the project nears the tentative Aug. 3 opening date, Nadal said he has only one fear.
“The one negative, my biggest fear, is that people will show up and just dump trash. I’m hoping that our community is better than that. I expect our community to be better than that,” he said.
“The high school recycling program kids are really excited about it and will help me out in keeping this maintained,” he said. “I’ve worked with the Keep Oklahoma Beautiful Program to develop lesson plans on sustainability and recycling for elementary students. I think this is something the whole town can embrace.”
Nadal said he wants to leave a better world for future generations.