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B.C.'s best elementary-age recyclers attend this North Vancouver school

Students at the school collected more than 14,000 beverage containers, as well as running a clothing drive and ‘spring cleaning’ service
Mrs. (Nicky) Mey's Grade 3-4 class celebrates their pizza party prize after bringing home the most bags of recycling during a winter break bottle drive that earned the school more than $1,100. | Courtesy of April LeCerf

Talk about a can-do attitude.

By collecting a total of 14,170 bottles, cans and other beverage containers, while running several other sustainability initiatives throughout the year, the students at Eastview Elementary in North Vancouver have been crowned B.C.’s best recyclers at their age.

For their efforts, Return-It has awarded Eastview $5,000 for winning its 2022-23 school contest.

To enter, schools across the province shared their recycling success stories with the non-profit company through a submission that highlights their school’s used beverage container collection program, shows how students were involved and demonstrates how the participating schools used the deposit refunds.

In Eastview’s case, the school raised $1,417 in refunds from its bottle drives, to help meet its fundraising goal to build a physical literacy space in the schoolyard.

In congratulation the school for its efforts, Return-It also acknowledged a clothing swap run by students, a winter break bottle drive with a pizza party prize and a “spring cleaning” service offering to pick up used beverage containers, as well as other recyclables and unwanted household items.

Eastview parent advisory committee chair April LeCerf says she’s really proud of the school, the PAC and everyone who volunteered.

In particular, she noted Eastview parent and alum Jason Baroni, who was enlisted as the bottle drive coordinator this year. To kickstart the drive, Baroni and the other volunteers sent home materials with students to educate them about the Return-It program, with instructions on how to return bags directly to the North Vancouver Return-It depot. Baroni’s home was also offered as a drop-off location.

Over the winter break, the school held a friendly competition. The class to bring home the most filled bags of returnables would win a pizza lunch furnished by DJJ’s Pizza in Deep Cove, which is owned by Baroni’s family. Through this effort, 195 bags were returned overall, raising a whopping $1,121.60. The standout class was (Nicky) Mey’s Grade 3-4 class with 24 bags, winning them the pizza party.

“That was definitely the most that we have made money-wise for the bottle drive,” said LeCerf, whose daughter is in Mey’s class.

When she heard that Eastview won the Return-It contest, LeCerf said she was surprised and also excited that the whole school’s hard work and ingenuity was rewarded.

She said receiving the $5,000 was “a relief” as well. “It’s just so hard to fundraise and get money for our school,” she said.

While it’s not yet decided where the money will go, one likely area is upgrading technology at Eastview, an area that receives little funding from the school district.

“Our school is desperately in need of tech – all of our computers are failing,” LeCerf said. “there’s been an ask of $35,000 from our school administration…. This year, we were able to give them $20,000 – (we're) hoping next year to give them another ($15,000). This $5,000 might go towards hitting that goal.”