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Alexis Lambert

In light of recent changes toward the school recycling policies, students have mixed emotions towards the new system. TRL’s Campbell Lester and Dhriti Pai share their views whether it’s useful for our school.

Solution or pollution

September 1, 2022

As the school implements a new recycling program, there is controversy if this program will work. TRL’s writer Dhriti Pai and section editor Campbell Lester debate the possibilities.

Something drastic, cut the plastic

The district has recently introduced a new recycling program. This program has the potential to have a positive impact on students, the community and the environment. Introducing recycling to just one district may seem insignificant, but in reality it has enormous benefits. 

Schools help shape the habits of students into adulthood. Introducing recycling at school can inspire students to care about the planet, make a difference and more conscious decisions. Students who recycle now are more likely to carry on this habit. This can help transform communities, jobs and one day the world. 

The high school can save money. Recycling has significant cost benefits for schools. Handling school waste efficiently will reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfills, and that money can be put to better use like funding academic clubs or art programs. 

Recycling has a positive effect on the environment. It prevents materials from being sent to the landfill and as a result, cuts down the energy and greenhouse gasses produced for new materials. It may seem insignificant, but recycling one ton of paper helps save 24 trees from being cut down. Any amount helps. Some are worried about contamination, but the classroom recycling bins are solely for paper and the cafeteria bins have staff to assist students sort waste. 

Up to eight percent of school waste is recyclable. Schools have an obligation to do their part to help the environment. This is a step in the right direction.  With these new policies the school can better their environmental footprint and have a lasting impact on their students and community. When it comes to recycling and the environment, every little bit helps. 

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Wasted effort

Over the years, the district has tried to implement a recycling policy, but it never seems to stick. Students don’t take time to separate their waste, causing the recycling bin to be another trash can. Efforts to make recycling a part of school are simply a loss of time that could be put towards more meaningful projects. Though many problems can be presented, food contamination is the leading issue in a school environment.

Contaminated recyclable material creates several problems. It attracts pests and creates unsanitary conditions for workers in recycling centers who are sorting through the items. It also causes the salability of processed recyclable loads to decrease. If one item is contaminated in a shipment, then the entire load of recyclable materials will be turned away when it reaches the buyer. Things like greasy pizza boxes and unwashed peanut butter jars can contaminate an entire load of recyclable material. Students don’t have the time or resources to properly clean their trash. Students would have to go to the bathrooms which are unsanitary.

When items are contaminated, it causes major harm to the environment. Non-recyclable materials have to get transferred from the recycling facility to the landfill. On a larger scale, recyclable materials are often shipped to buyers around the world. If they get turned away for contamination, the entire load has to return to where it came from. The extra, unnecessary trips waste resources and cause pollution.

Though recycling is meant to benefit the environment, recycling is not efficient or helpful in a school like setting. Students don’t properly discard their waste causing it to be a negative rather than a positive. Though policies and rules can be set in place, at the end of the day, food waste is going to end up in the recycling bin. Our school should instead introduce more achievable plans such as cutting back on paper or even educating students on the importance of our environment.

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