How can we greenify our school?

“Being green” is a worldwide goal, now that the population at large is aware of the threat of climate change and global warming.  To do our part, West Side should start looking for ways to be more eco-friendly.  Overall, our school is fairly good about recycling and cutting down on electricity, but there is always room for improvement.

Lexi Umberger '17, Becky Oates '17, Allie Jin '17, and Brianne Abrahamson '17 use styrofoam lunch trays in the cafeteria.  The disposable styrofoam trays are used when the cafeteria does not have enough staff to wash reusable trays.

Lexi Umberger ’17, Becky Oates ’17, Allie Jin ’17, and Brianne Abrahamson ’17 use styrofoam lunch trays in the cafeteria. The disposable styrofoam trays are used when the cafeteria does not have enough staff to wash reusable trays.

One of the biggest contributors to our school’s effort to be green is Eco Club.  Every week, they collect the plastic bottles and cans that are not recycled in the classrooms, which is a significant help to the custodial staff.

“We participate in more infrequent recycling opportunities as well – the last few years we have recycled at the homecoming game.  We also participated in the Subaru Stars competition, which was a traditional recycling drive but also included toys and games and other children’s items that were then donated,” said Mrs. Smyser, teacher sponsor of Eco Club.

Eco Club has many projects, including the purchase of a can crusher in the cafeteria to recycle the metal from all the cans that are used  by the cafeteria staff to make lunch every day.  The can crusher has been selected and paid for, but has not been ordered yet because of the setup necessary before it actually can stay in the school.  Eco Club was also responsible for the implementation of the reusable plastic trays in the cafeteria instead of the styrofoam trays, but the cafeteria staff is frequently unable to use the reusable trays. 

“We have to have a full staff to wash the reusable trays.  However, we are switching styrofoam trays from the beige trays to white trays that are more eco-friendly: they break down faster.” said Food Services Director Jim Tyner.

Even with these advancements in our school system, there are still some things that we could improve on.  A lot of paper is wasted daily because there is no  limit for how much paper teachers can use.  We could also do more than just entertain the idea of a composting system.  Since the main problem with a composting system is the need to separate food scraps from wrappers and trays, this could be overcome if students were motivated to sort it themselves, and scraping only excess food into the compost bins.

“We could do a much better job of recycling at the athletic complex and during track and field and swimming events.  There’s no recycling there.  It’s not just games, there are practices out there every night, and tons of Gatorade bottles and water bottles – none of that, unless a student takes their empty bottles home and recycles them at home, gets recycled,” said Smyser.

There are also many ways that students can tweak their daily habits to make our school greener.  Food waste is a significant problem at many schools, and it is always a shame to see almost-full beverages and sandwiches with a couple bites taken out of them in the trash cans.  Students need to make sure that they will actually consume what they buy. This is a good thing from an economic standpoint as well: throwing away food means throwing your lunch money away with it.

“When you waste food, it gets put into a landfill where it creates harmful methane gas, so try not to waste food. Bring a lunch box instead of disposable paper bags, and instead of buying plastic water bottles every day, try to bring reusable ones, like Camelbaks.  And always be sure to recycle,” said Arthi Puri ’14, president of Eco Club.

 

Recycling Tips:

Don’t recycle bottles with liquid still in them – try to dump out any liquid before recycling.

Do not recycle trash! E.g. food wrappers.

What to recycle: Plastic, metal, paper

If in doubt, ask!

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Student views published on this website and in the print edition of The Scarlette do not necessarily reflect the views of the faculty, staff, or administration of West Lafayette High School or WLCSC.