MOUNT VERNON — Fifth-graders from Madison Elementary School went on a field trip this week that few kids or adults have had the chance to take.

With blue hard hats and bright yellow visibility vests, the students in Elizabeth Linderman and Gracie Woolley’s class toured Lautenbach Recycling on Wednesday.

The field trip went hand in hand with recent school projects.

“There are so many things in our day-to-day life — whether it be our regular recycling or the walls in our home — there’s so many things in our everyday life that can be recycled and can have a further life rather than just going to the garbage,” said Lautenbach Recycling Human Resources Manager Paula Birchler, who led students on the field trip.

In class, the students are learning to make prototypes and about recycling. So the teachers decided to combine the two lessons.

For their first prototype, students had to use something old from home to make something new.

Alma Rodriguez, 11, took an old shirt and some string and made a scrunchie.

“A shirt can’t just dissolve,” Alma said. “It’s just going to stay there, so it’s better to reuse it. If we recycle, it can get sold to be reused instead of just going into the ocean and parks.”

The field trip was a way to show the students how important recycling is, not just in the classroom but in real life, Woolley said.

“We thought it would be really neat to show them how that works out in the community,” she said.

While Lautenbach Recycling often has visitors, including U.S. Rep Rick Larsen, it was the first time a group of students had asked for a tour.

“We enjoy doing it and any time you can get in front of kids and tell them about recycling and what’s going on ... half the time they’re the ones driving their parents and telling them to do it,” Birchler said. “They, as our future, can really take the initiative and look at our world and find ways to reuse things.”

— Reporter Kera Wanielista: 360-416-2141,, Twitter: @Kera_SVH,

Load comments