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Third-graders watch recycling firsthand

Vincent Herf, 9, a third-grader from Saint Mary Catholic School of Woodstock, raises his hand during a tour Friday of the Berry Plastics building in Woodstock. The students took the tour to learn about how companies recycle, reduce and reuse.
Vincent Herf, 9, a third-grader from Saint Mary Catholic School of Woodstock, raises his hand during a tour Friday of the Berry Plastics building in Woodstock. The students took the tour to learn about how companies recycle, reduce and reuse.

WOODSTOCK – McHenry County third-graders saw recycling up close Friday thanks to an Earth Day lesson from Berry Plastics.

For more than 10 years, Berry Plastics has been inviting schools to tour its plant around Earth Day to see real-world examples of how recycling works.

“We’re bringing the kids out so they can experience [recycling] firsthand and hopefully learn something,” said John Weibert, plant manager at Berry Plastics. “For the environment, it’s important that we all take care of the Earth.”

Dean Street Elementary School and St. Mary Catholic School, both from Woodstock, toured the plant and learned about Berry’s recycling efforts.

The third-graders learned how the plant recycles corrugate, plastic and hydraulic oil, and got to watch discarded materials as they were ground up and prepared for reuse.

“A lot of people learn by hands on,” Weibert said. “Seeing, observing. This gives the kids a real-life situation where they can see things actually occurring versus just having to imagine it in their own minds.”

Berry Plastics makes an array of products from buckets to building products, and grinds up any excess or defective parts to be used again, Weibert said.

“It’s important [for the students] to learn about saving the Earth,” said Carol Landers, third-grade teacher at St. Mary. “And they need to know about recycling and reusing and all those different things. It also fit into our social studies unit about factories and communities.”

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