Recycling Not Bin So Great

Ethan Bowman, Staff Writer

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Upper St. Clair, more than other schools, is prepared for the future. Go into any classroom and you will see Smartboards, laptop carts, and even students working on their district-provided iPads. This plays a stark contrast when compared to our aging and ineffective recycling system. Don’t get me wrong, Upper St. Clair has a recycling system and was one of the first school districts to implement one, but it is far from ideal.

The first and largest problem is that in each classroom we have recycling bins and only recycling bins. When every bin is a recycling bin, no bin is a recycling bin. I spoke with several of the Janitorial staff and learned that the school’s policy is that if a recycling bin has trash in it, everything in it gets thrown away. While this policy is fair, it makes you realize how little of the recycling that goes in the bin actually gets recycled.

The second problem with recycling in Upper St. Clair is the student’s lack of motivation and knowledge. In places where recycling and trash bins are in place, such as the library, many students don’t think twice about throwing their trash or recycling in the bin closest to them. This is bad when recycling is thrown in the trash but worse when trash is thrown in the recycling, which can cause the whole bin to end up in the trash.

This brings me to the last problem with recycling in Upper St. Clair, the lack of knowledge. Our school uses no single system nor do students ever learn about recycling. Many students would be surprised to learn that our school uses a single stream system, so all recycling including plastic, paper, and glass all ends up in the same dumpster outside the school. The use of recycling bins as trash cans in classrooms causes students to use them as a trash can everywhere in the school.

Change is on the horizon as the environmental club is working with district staff to solve some of the above problems. Three main objectives are currently being worked toward; increase the number of garbage/recycling bins, start educating students on recycling, and lastly to add more water bottle filling stations around the school.

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Recycling Not Bin So Great