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Recycling the way to a better planet

St. Mary School third-grader brings schoolwork home in a big way

St. Mary School third-grader brings schoolwork home in a big way

November 03, 2008|By JANET HEIM

David Hagelberg might only be 8 years old but he's on a mission to save the planet.

The St. Mary School third-grader has undertaken a recycling effort at home and in his parents' businesses that was inspired by his school.

"It started from when I was at school. They announced they were going to be recycling - every grade," David said.

He and his parents, Robert "Rob" and Jennifer Hagelberg, thought that meant school families could collect plastic bottles and aluminum cans, and take them to the school for recycling.

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Within a four-day period, they had collected several large bags of recyclables and hauled them to St. Mary's, only to discover the effort was only for the school.

To ease David's disappointment, his mother told him they would take the recyclables to one of the county recycling bins.

David has chosen to continue with the effort. He and his mother take their recyclable items to the bin on Burhans Boulevard in the old County Market parking lot.

Many of the items they recycle come from David's parents' businesses - Pennsylvania Avenue Laundromat, which Rob Hagelberg manages for his parents, and Jennifer's Floral Creations. To encourage laundromat patrons to recycle, Rob put out a large box with signs where items could be placed.

He said the amount of trash in the laundromat has been reduced significantly.

"You would not believe how much plastic people generate," Rob Hagelberg said.

Each morning, the family gathers items to be recycled from the laundromat and their home above the laundromat, saving up for a trip to the recycling bin.

"It's a great idea, that he took the initiative to carry on what he learned at school, to carry it over to home, our businesses," Rob Hagelberg said. "He's made my wife and I more conscientious of how much plastic and aluminum we throw away in a day. It's unbelievable."

David said he hopes other students will follow his lead.

"I'm really happy I'm helping the planet. I'm hoping they'll help the planet, too," he said.

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