Part Two: Yes, We Do Recycle!


Photo illustration by O. Tarvin.

Every classroom has at least two bins to collect waste produced during the school day. The gray collects trash, and the blue collects recycling; however, the recycling bins rarely hold the correct waste. 

“We only recycle paper and cardboard, we don’t recycle plastic,” Steve Kohn, head custodian, said. 

When there are food wrappers, styrofoam, plastics, and other non-recyclable waste in the blue bins, the paper and cardboard in those bins can be contaminated. If the recyclables are contaminated by food and liquids, it prevents that waste from being recycled and reused. 

Maddie O’Bryan, 11, insisted that the recycling bins “don’t work,” prior to learning that uncontaminated paper and cardboard can be taken to recycling centers. 

“It actually does? I didn’t know that. This is really my first time learning that they were actually usable. I just thought they were there for show just like they were in elementary school and middle school,” O’Bryan said. 

O’Bryan is not the only student who was unaware of the blue bins’ purpose. Nora Ide, 10, was also surprised to hear this news and has some opinions on how to inform the student body. 

“I feel like there should be policies enforced about it because it is important. If all of the [recyclables] go into the trash, there’s just more pollution. Maybe teachers and students can watch to make sure that the correct things are going into correct bins,” Ide stated. 

The environmental club has been advocating for less waste in the school. O’Bryan has mentioned bringing ideas to the board to cut down the pollution the school produces. O’Bryan has new ideas on how to inform the student body.

“We could do an announcement and posters in front of the bins and around the halls about what can be recycled. I see posters out in public all the time and I originally thought it was a lost cause,” O’Bryan mentioned.