Leading the nation

October 07, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

An item as unremarkable as a used printing cartridge has brought fame to the students at Greencastle-Antrim Middle School.

Under the direction of librarian Sandra Kendall, the school two years ago embarked on a program sponsored by an Erie, Pa.,-based recycling firm to collect used laser and inkjet printer cartridges. The cartridges are exchanged for points which earn new equipment for the school.

The idea took off. This year, the Funding Factory - the Erie cartridge recycling firm - notified Kendall that her school turned in more cartridges than any of the nearly 24,000 schools across the United States that participate in the program.

The local students turned in enough cartridges to earn more than 20,000 points.

So far, Kendall said, her school has gained a new color laserjet printer that is wired to all classrooms, a digital camera, an overhead projection system, a remote control, photo quality paper and a portable battery charger.


Next on her list is a video camera, she said.

Shannon Stutzman, Funding Factory spokeswoman, said the 20,000-plus points earned by the students would represent $8,258 if the school opted to take cash instead of prizes.

Stutzman said there is a list of nearly 90,000 items from which the schools can choose, including technical, sporting and recreational equipment.

Kendall said she prefers equipment instead of cash.

She also likes the program because it connects the community, schools and the environment, she said.

Sixth-graders Morgan Kelly and Randa Bingaman like it because of what it has brought to their school.

"You give stuff in and you get stuff back," Kelly said.

"It's giving and getting," Bingaman said.

Students nag parents, relatives and family friends to bring cartridges home from their jobs. Home computer systems are also a good source, they said.

Kendall recruits area businesses. So far, Grove Worldwide, World Kitchens, Fresh Express, Hazardous Materials Management Office and Graphics Universal participate.

"I look for more businesses all the time," she said.

The Funding Factory provides the empty boxes and pays all shipping costs, Stutzman said.

Participating companies and individuals can drop off cartridges at the school or be given boxes which can be filled on site and picked up by UPS drivers, Kendall said.

"I even find cartridges on my back porch some times," she said.

For more information, call Kendall at 1-717-597-2185.

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