Middle school holds technology recycling drive

CONYERS - The technology department at General Ray Davis Middle School is holding a recycling drive for laser and inkjet toner cartridges and old cell phones to raise money for classroom equipment.

"We are asking students and parents to please bring in all of your old printer cartridges," said Joe Tompkins, instructional technology specialist at the school. "Students should bring cartridges to their homeroom teachers in sealed, plastic bags."

He also encouraged parents to donate used cartridges from their workplaces.

"I would love ... for our community businesses to get involved with this to support our schools," he said. "Many of our parents work in large offices, and many of these businesses don't realize that these things they throw away or mail to 'free' recyclers could be used to help our school."

Tompkins said all of the schools' students, teachers and parents are collecting items for the drive, but he wants the entire community to get involved.

He said those interested in donating items to the drive can drop off inkjet cartridges (in sealed plastic bags), laser toner cartridges and old cell phones at the school's front office during business hours.

The school is working with the company, Funding Factory, for the drive.

"(Funding Factory) recycles inkjet cartridges, toner cartridges and cell phones," Tompkins said. "They specifically work with schools and give us points for every eligible item we return. We can then use those points to purchase equipment from participating companies or for cash."

Since every classroom at Davis Middle is a 21st Century classroom, in which teachers and students use a virtual electronic whiteboard for classroom activities, he said the funds collected will help make those rooms better.

"The equipment has been a fantastic success and really embraced by students and teachers," Tompkins said. "An essential part of this setup is a mounted digital projector in every room. The lifespan for the bulbs for these projectors is about two years. This fund raiser is specifically aimed at raising money for replacement bulbs so our students can continue to use this wonderful technology daily."

The drive started this month, so he said the school only has collected "a few" items so far.

"We're counting on the students to bring in a lot more," he said.

Round one of the program will conclude at the end of the school year, he said.

As an incentive for students, the school is offering a free educational game of their choice from www.gepetosoftware.com for every 20 eligible items students bring in to donate.

"I've been writing software and games for the schools for almost 10 years now, and many of them are popular with students," Tompkins said about why he is offering that as a prize. "I'm hoping that this incentive will really help the recycling effort."

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.