TEACHING GREEN Students Learn about Repurposing through Textile Drive

By Hval, Cindy | The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), December 12, 2013 | Go to article overview

TEACHING GREEN Students Learn about Repurposing through Textile Drive


Hval, Cindy, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA)


Riverday School may be small, but the independent nonprofit hopes to make a big difference in the environment.

With 20 students enrolled in grades K-6, three full-time teachers and one part-time art instructor, the school has already been involved in several projects aimed at teaching children the value of environmental sustainability.

On Dec. 2, Riverday launched a textile drive. Students are gathering clothing, shoes, stuffed animals, handbags, belts, blankets and towels. The items can be new or used and in any condition. The drive is part fundraiser and part community service project. By teaming up with Gemtext, a Northwest-based sustainability company that repurposes and recycles textiles, the school hopes to raise money for classroom supplies and field trips, while teaching students the importance of keeping the community clean and green.

Jordan Berrios-Dunn, 9, explained what will happen to the donated goods. "If the clothes are in bad condition, they get put into dog beds or something. If it's in good condition it's given to kids who don't have a lot of stuff."

Becci Carlson, market manager for Gemtext Recycling, said many people throw away single shoes or stained, torn clothing. "But a cotton T-shirt can be broken down into fibers," she said. Those fibers can be used in stuffed animals or upholstery.

As an added incentive, the textile drive is a competition among the three classrooms. The classroom that gathers the most pounds of material per child will win a gift bag filled with goodies for each student in that class. The drive will end Dec. 20 with an all- school pizza and ice cream party.

"We will come with a truck and pick up and weigh the donated goods and the school will receive a check," said Carlson.

Mirabai Karasu, 11, stood next to the collection bins. "I brought in two paper bags filled with clothes and one of the bags had a couple of my dad's hats in it," she said. …

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