The Gleaner

Students keep tabs on recycling at HAECC

Students at the Huntingdon Adult Education and Community Centre took part in a “tab party” on March 12 to benefit the Genie in a Bottle project. Sitting in a circle, surrounded by bags of aluminum cans, participants from all the programs worked in shifts throughout the day to pull off can tabs to be recycled into wheelchair frames.

“We are past the stage where we can do this,” says Genie in a Bottle’s founder, Shirley Cavanagh, of the need to remove the tabs before the cans are recycled. Her goal is to collect enough tabs to provide the Shriners Hospital for Children and the Montreal Children’s Hospital with a wheelchair through the Clermont Bonnenfant Foundation. Each chair represents 26 black garbage bags of tabs. By the end of the day, HAECC’s tab party had contributed around 17,980 tabs to the cause.


Students at HAECC took part in a tab party on March 12 where together they removed the tabs off of over 17980 aluminum cans so they could be recycled separately PHOTO Sarah Rennie


The initiative is in line with HAECC’s commitment to sustainability and recycling. Along with the tab party, the school’s green committee has held two zero-waste challenges, where classrooms competed to bring in the greatest number of recyclables. The first one brought in around 180 pounds in aluminum cans, bread clips, pill bottles, plastic caps, and batteries. Over 220 pounds were recycled following the second event.

HAECC students are now challenging those at the Chateauguay Valley Career Education Centre and the NOVA Career Centre to join their zero-waste mission. The contest will start on Earth Day and run to May 31. Heidi Niven, a social work technician with the NFSB and a member of HAECC’s green committee, says the challenges have created a healthy sense of competition and school community that has been missing from the school since the pandemic. “Because we run so many different programs, there are not many opportunities to co-mingle,” she explains.


During the tab party at HAECC Genie in a Bottle founder Shirley Cavanagh presented a $1000 cheque to HAECC and another $1000 to Melissas Sunshine Camp PHOTO Sarah Rennie


“It is very positive,” says teacher Marie-Claire Charlebois, who spearheads the green committee. “The students understand the cause is important and it gives them value to be a part of it,” she adds, noting the partnership with Genie in a Bottle has been especially rewarding. “We are supporting the environment and an organization that is supporting us.”

Charlebois says the school will soon open a recycling station, so even more items will be recycled through the school and donated to Cavanagh and her cause.

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