The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

EDITORIAL: Recycling System Reboot

Lack of school recycling system sparks conversation and action
Rachel Bruffett
Sitting in the corner of classrooms, some staff say their recycling bins go untouched by groundsmen.

In the corner of each classroom sits a blue bin, full of recyclables, waiting to be picked up. Some staff say their bins are left untouched, while others say groundsmen come to pick them up. The overall consensus: no one knows for sure where their recyclables are landing.

With the lack of a consistent recycling system at the school, bins are often left full and mismanaged. Although the bins are picked up almost daily, some staff suspect recyclables have been dispensed in the trash all year because of the loss of a well-established system.

As of November, a third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from processed materials assembled by today’s people; recycling and repurposing waste is crucial to extending Earth’s lifetime. While these numbers represent the worldwide impact, they are seen at the school level as well.

Hundreds of pieces of paper are printed daily in the building, and with the immense number of materials students consume from companies like Starbucks or McDonald’s, classroom bins fill up quickly—often within a day or two. 

“We create a lot of waste and a lot of it is recycling – the good stuff that could be reused. It also allows the whole community to see that we care about it, and that students care about it, and that we care about our future and we want to be one of the greener schools,” environmental science teacher Julie Schwarting said.

The need for a steady recycling habit in school is more important than ever. This semester, some individuals have brought it upon themselves to develop a much-needed process.

In previous years, recycling was picked up by a program made up of students involved with the work experience program, supported by Work Experience and Career Transition & Development teacher Melanie Smith. However, because of staffing issues, the program dissolved in fall 2022. With Smith seeing the need for a consistent system, she said she hopes on re-starting the program this semester.

Along with the work experience class, Schwarting is pushing for a sustainable system using the school’s Green Team. She said she hopes to implore students to start spearheading campaigns, sharing information and educating the community.

Led by senior Elsa Carillo, waste audits will be conducted to figure out what is recyclable, compostable and trash. Following the research, a steady recycling program will be put in place.

“Our goal is to create a consistent recycling program at the school, making sure that recyclable materials are put in the recycling and not just thrown in the trash as it is now. It is important because it will reduce the amount of materials that are headed to landfills and incinerators,” Carillo said. “It will bring awareness to other people about their habits when it comes to recycling, that they could then translate into their daily life at home or in the community.”

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