The Trash Dilemma


It is a common occurrence at the high school for the blue recycling bins to have trash in them. Daily, there is styrofoam, foil, food wrappers, and so many non-recyclable items in the blue bins. The lack of respect toward the blue bins has sparked concern among the student body about how waste and recycling is handled at the high school. 

Kylye Delphia, Director of Facilities, has also noticed the overwhelming amount of trash in the recycling bins. 

“Sometimes people get confused that you don’t recycle styrofoam, foil, and tupperware containers. All of that stuff is not recyclable, but it shows up in the recycling bins,” Delphia said. 

This raises questions over what happens to recycled materials that are contaminated by trash.

An employee at Johnson County Recycling tells Stampede News that recycling is taken to the Material Recovery Facility. At the MRF, there is an in-depth process of sorting through the recycling. Most is done automatically, but some sorting is done by hand.

“Let’s say the recycling is picked up and it is so contaminated with trash that the feasibility of sorting it out is slim to none. Unfortunately, that would most likely be taken directly into the landfill,” Johnson County Recycling employee adds. 

The amount of waste that the high school produces is not just a concern to adults. Maddie O’Bryan, co-president of the environmental club, is very passionate about cutting down waste. O’Bryan has been vegan for 3 years. She is actively working to find solutions on cutting down our carbon footprint just here at the high school. 

“Single-use plastics are very rampant here. We use styrofoam trays and plastic utensils at lunch. If we would just switch out styrofoam for cardboard, that would help,” O’Bryan said. 

USD 230 is considering finding ways to cut down on waste at all schools. Using hand dryers instead of paper towels is just one of the ideas that is being considered. Taking one step at a time to cut down on the amount of waste used at schools will make a huge difference.