Return-It Blog

Stanley Humphries Secondary School: Sorting Empties for Special Education

One of our stand-out winners of the Return-It School Contest this year was Stanley Humphries Secondary School in Castlegar, BC. We love hearing about the recycling programs that have really made an impact on students across the province, and SHSS’s innovative and industrious collection system was one of our favourites.

The school’s collection program is led by Stanley Humphries special education student Brendan. Brendan is the Team Recycling Leader who helps educate students on the routine, procedures, and schedule of the recycling team in order for them to complete their job efficiently each week. He, along with other leaders and grade eight students, collect sorted empty beverage containers from every classroom on the same day each week. "It's thoughtful, engaged students like Brendan and the rest of the Stanley Humphries team that really makes a recycling program work" says Return-It President and CEO Allen Langdon.

The day goes something like this: the PA system will announce that it’s collection time, classrooms place their bins in the hall for collection, and the recycling team moves “like a well-oiled machine” through each floor, collecting and moving the bags of containers to a designated sorting area for day two of recycling work.

On the second day, the recycling team works on emptying, sorting, counting, and bagging the containers. They do this on a special table designed by a group of Stanley Humphries metalwork students, along with their teacher. This unique table not only has a built-in drain, but is slanted so that liquid from the containers goes directly to it. What an ingenious creation! According to the recycling team, this table has made sorting containers easier and faster.

After the sorting process, the team takes the bags of sorted containers to a storage shed where they are kept until they can be taken to a Return-It Depot for money. To date, Stanley Humphries Secondary has diverted over 13,000 containers from the landfill! The $676.07 they’ve raised through recycling also goes right back into the school to help their students: all proceeds go directly towards improving the special education program.

Return-It is proud to award Stanley Humphries Secondary School and their recycling team a win in the 2018 Return-It School Contest. Congratulations on your inspiring work!

Want to participate in the Return-It School contest? Visit for more information and find out how you can share your school’s story.

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