LOWELL | The message in the Tri-Creek school system is simple.
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
The Tri-Creek School Board has agreed to support Lowell as a Lake County Solid Waste District Green Community for the 2013-14 school year.
"It's a win-win," School Board member Tim Cottingham said.
Jeff Langbehn, the district's director, told the board the school system's support is key to meeting the goals and achieving success as a Green Community.
Langbehn said Hobart's waste recycling percentage was in the mid-30s three years ago, but as the inaugural Green Community, the city boosted that to 95 percent. Whiting is the only city at 100 percent in the state after being a Green Community, he said.
"We have two successes behind us, and we'd love to have Lowell," Langbehn said.
Lowell Town Councilman Phillip Kuiper, D-4th, the town's representative to the Solid Waste District, said Langbehn and the district's Green Team of educators will be making a presentation before the council soon to get official town approval.
"I would call ours (recycling percentage) low. It's in the 30s," Kuiper said as to why he lobbied for Lowell to become a Green Community. "The goal would be 100 percent."
Langbehn said the district unashamedly "uses the kids" to inform and, perhaps, coerce their parents into better recycling habits.
"They start from the bottom up with the kids. It works," Kuiper said.
He recalled how he never wore his seat belt until his children attended preschool, learned about it, then constantly reminded him to buckle up.
While the Tri-Creek School Corp. already has recycling practices in place, as a Green Community, the message will be carried home to students' families through T-shirts, sweatshirts and other giveaways.
There will be assemblies and special programs and preference for booking the district's popular Enviromobile.