Jenison Students Offer “NuHope” in Partnership with NuWool

Four years ago, ACT students had no idea that their paper peddling would have the potential to change lives and provide warm homes for folks they had never met.

But it was four years ago when Mrs. Karen Weaver’s ACT program moved to Pinewood Elementary School and she was introduced to Blake Watson, a Pinewood Parent who was also a manager at NuWool. Over the course of conversation, the NuWool partnership was born, inviting students to collect unwanted phone books to be donated, shred, and converted into cellulose insulation. Since the project’s inception, ACT donations have also been dedicated for use as insulation in Habitat for Humanity homes.

Jenison Public Schools, ACT, Karen Weaver, NuWool

6th grade ACT students

“Green” since 1949, NuWool is committed to helping homeowners lower their energy bills or work toward LEED certification. They note that insulation made from 100% recycled paper (enter ACT phone books) is manufactured using much less energy than what is needed to make fiberglass insulation — at least ten times less!

These principals of environmental stewardship that govern Jenison’s ACT class are are pillars for Karen Weaver personally, making this project a standout for her and her students alike.

“Our main goal at the time was to keep the books out of the landfill and give them a second life as cellulose insulation.  Then, two years ago, we decided to collect and donate the books for insulation for Habitat Homes. The HUGE collections continued, in spite of the books getting smaller…

…We were always particularly proud of this project, since NuWool is a LOCAL green industry–turning trash into product.  It is located in our neighborhood and employs our parents.  All concepts we endorse,” said Mrs. Weaver.

Jenison Public Schools, ACT, Karen Weaver, NuWool

3rd grade ACT students

This year, NuWool marketer Trisha Henderson perked up with an awesome community tie-in idea: why not use JPS-donated books to create acoustical tiles for our new Fine Arts Center?

In partnership with its sister company, Cellulose Material Solutions, LLC, NuWool helped to manufacture innovative cellulose batts from the recycled phone books. Sold under the name ECOCELL (see photo below), these batts have superior thermal and acoustical properties, making them perfect for concert halls.

Because of their unique properties, dozens of cellulose batts (made from our recycled phone books) will be installed in Jenison’s new Performing Arts Center! They will be suspended like sound absorbing “clouds” in the performance hall as well as installed into adjoining office walls.

photo of NuWool, Cellulose Material Solutions, Jenison Public Schools, JPS, Pinewood Elementary School, Jenison Fine Arts Center

[L to R} Jenna Boelkins, Andrew Ferguson, Tom TenBrink, Karen Weaver, Rachael Lyon.

“The phone book drive is a true testament of how recovering waste locally can lead to new products made locally, then installed and used locally in a sustainable facility,” said Ms. Henderson.

CMS employee works on the new acoustic "batts" to be installed in Jenison's Fine Arts Center.

CMS employee works on the new acoustic “batts” to be installed in Jenison’s Fine Arts Center.

“Who knew that when our ACT students started recycling phone books years ago that they would some day be used to help insulate our brand new Performing Arts Center! It is exciting to know that the Nu-Wool insulation that is being used throughout our new building is a byproduct of the efforts of our past and present ACT students. What a great story,” commented Tom TenBrink.

Students at Pinewood Elementary collected over 9,000 pounds of phone books this year alone!

We applaud their diligent care of our planet and the way they have ensured that others’ trash … becomes Jenison’s treasure. Bravo!

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