Recycle It Right

You sadly arrive at the last sip of your delicious drink. Luckily, there’s a blue recycling bin nearby that you can mindlessly toss your empty can or bottle into, and go about your day. Where does your bottle go once you’ve disposed of it? The answer lies with the ECO Club, who make sure those bins never get too full. Follow Ashley Yang (9), Yoojin Oh (9), and Lily Shen (12) on the first after-school recycling shift of the month.

Members meet at the loading dock, where they locate the green bins and wheeled them inside. Everyone made sure to wear gloves before they handled any recycled materials.

 

 

 

 

 

The group splits up to cover all of the recycling containers around the school. Ashley Yang took her own green bin and started with the recycling just outside the cafeteria.

 

 

 

 

 

Once she removes the top of the full blue container, Ashley dumps out its contents into the green one. The blue containers are left in their original place, ready to be used.

 

 

 

 

 

Since it’s nearly impossible to drag such large objects up the stairs, ECO club members can take the elevator on their collection runs. Yoojin Oh and Lily Shen paired up to cover locations on the second and third floors.

 

 

 

 

 

Once all the blue containers have been accounted for, members regroup back at the loading dock with their green bins, where they dump everything out to sort it. Many inappropriately tossed items have been found where the cans and bottles should be, including paper and food. “[For] the people who are actually in recycling facilities, it makes their lives so much easier when you recycle correctly,” Yang said.

 

 

 

 

Lily Shen and Yoojin Oh dump a round of properly sorted cans and bottles into the main disposal. Oh was excited to join the ECO club here after being in the one at her old school.

 

 

 

 

 

After everything is sorted and dumped properly, they go back inside and immediately wash their hands. From Steps 1-7, the job took about fifty minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

With a significantly higher number of members this year, co-presidents Ethan Bledsoe (12) and Lily Shen are looking to take their environmental advocacy to new heights. “All of [the members] were seniors last year, so after they graduated, me and Ethan decided to take it over,” Shen said.

The ECO Club manages the paper recycling as well as the cans and bottles. It remains their central endeavor. “Without us, it all goes into the trash. We’re the only reason that recycling gets recycled. It’s definitely a tangible difference you can make, and it’s really fun,” Shen said.

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