In 2006, the Reusable Center at Lab was created by a group of Nursery and Kindergarten teachers to store recycled items for classroom use. The Reusable Center initially consisted of a few school hallway lockers in Blaine Hall, where donated items were dropped off, and stored. Families and staff contributed plastic, wood, paper, cardboard, cloth, metal, and glass reusable items which were then sorted, stored, labeled and photographed. Thanks to the enthusiastic support of Lab families, the center quickly outgrew the lockers, and within a short period, teachers’ desks were buried in piles of donated reusable items, and the lockers were bulging with reusables.
In April 2010, the Reusable Center moved to a larger space within the U-High teachers’ lounge, and a parent volunteer, Mary Kohrman Hayes, accepted the task of coordinating the Reusable Center. In 2011, the center, originally intended for Nursery and Kindergarten, expanded to include all early-childhood grades: Nursery through 2nd-grade, as well as After School teachers and students. During Summer Lab 2012, Summer Lab teachers and students also began using the Reusables Center. In September 2013, the Reusable Center expanded to two sites: one site remained on the Historic Campus to serve grades 3-12, and a new center opened on the third floor of Earl Shapiro Hall. In August 2015, the original center at the Historic Campus closed to facilitate the ongoing renovations on that campus.
The Reusable Center continues to be a resource for teachers, students, staff, and parents involved in school projects. Teachers and students visit the center often, and find items with which to create math games, sculptures, science models, costumes, musical instruments, and much more. Some of the creations are purely artistic; some are functional. By reusing objects in a new way, creativity is stimulated, “green” environmental awareness is increased and landfills decreased.
The Reusable Center is located on the third floor of ESH, directly across from the elevator. The door is always open. For safety, children should be accompanied by an adult. The Reusable Center accepts contributions of wood, plastic, paper, cardboard, cloth, glass, and metal items. Contributed materials should be left in the drop-off box inside the ESH center. The following guidelines should be followed for contributions:
- Save reusable items: plastic, wood, paper, cardboard, metal, glass and cloth
- Wash and dry items that were used for food or cleaning
- Leave off the lids and caps, but send them in with the containers
- Only items that are safe for children to handle (if unsure, send it in; it can be recycled at school)
- Drop items off at the Reusable Center (3rd floor, ESH)
Only items that are safe for children to handle are kept in the center. If you are unsure if you should send an item in, send it in anyway–if it can’t be used in the Reusable Center, it will be recycled at the school. If you have any questions about the Reusable Center, please contact Mary Kohrman Hayes.