GHS Needs Recycling Cans

Practice What You Preach

Meghan Braddy, Reporter

Recycling is an important matter that people should be pursuing every day. It’s basic knowledge to recycle plastic, paper, cardboard, etc, to reduce the amount of trash we throw away so we can eventually reuse it again in the future. It’s something students learn their whole lives, but what happens when there aren’t any recycling cans? In the GHS cafeteria, the only place available for students to dispose of their trash in are garbage cans. With the number of recyclables being used during lunch and breakfast every day, one would expect recycling cans to be available. Why are students being taught to recycle if their own school cafeteria doesn’t support it? At other high school cafeterias in Northwest Indiana, such as Crown Point and Lowell, recycling cans are placed next to all of the garbage cans. It doesn’t make sense as to why Griffith can’t follow the same protocol. Parents and teachers teach kids about recycling to help the environment, but each day the students at GHS are harming the environment.

Freshman Serena Bridegroom has recently become concerned with the lack of recycling cans. “Nowadays, you see news about turtles being harmed by plastic in the ocean and the ocean life dying. The thing is that only a few people seem to care. People usually don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff because they think it’s boring or it doesn’t matter when it really does. When I learned more about plastic, I noticed that our cafeteria doesn’t have recycling cans where most of the plastic is not properly disposed of. Then I noticed that there weren’t any recycling cans anywhere except in the classrooms, and some classrooms don’t even have recycling,” she said.

There are more than ten garbage cans in the cafeteria constantly filled to the brim with recyclables daily. It’s a problem because there are so many useful recyclables that should be going to a recycling plant. Once they’re thrown in the trash and covered in food, most recyclables aren’t viable anymore. GHS does recycle paper weekly from the classrooms that have recycling cans, but it’s not enough. Students can’t be put into the habit of throwing everything away, because 70% of what we throw away daily could be recycled. GHS and GMS combined has about 1,000 students combined. As a whole we generate so much waste every day that’s piling up our landfills as we speak. We’re one of the main contributors to the problematic growing landfills we’ve all heard and seen before. Growing landfills leads to more consumption of land and the increase of toxic air quality which is not healthy for kids and adults alike.

Bridegroom said, “I wanted to do something about this issue, so I went to the recycling manager and student council sponsor, Jenna Berzy. I asked her why we didn’t have recycling cans in the lunchroom, and she said that GHS had them five years ago, but no one was willing to take them to the recycling plant. She told me to join the student council, and bring it up then to discuss it more.”

Right now, GHS looks careless without recycling cans. Each day, we’re wasting good recyclables and giving them to the dump. This shows that the school doesn’t care about the environment. Each year we’re not recycling at GHS is a year that we’re not saving energy, reducing landfills and the use of toxic chemicals, or helping our climate with Global Warming. Americans already only recycle 34% of the waste they create daily. Do we really want to be a part of the rest of the 66% that doesn’t care? We have become a society where recycling isn’t as important as it should be. There are so many benefits we would be giving to the Earth and ourselves if we’d just push for the ability to recycle in the cafeteria. Some of these benefits would be conserving natural resources and providing more employment opportunities. GHS would be conserving resources such as timber, water, and minerals while also providing jobs at recycling plants for workers to sort through the recyclables they receive. We’d also be showing the incoming classes how important recycling is and why we should do it not only in our classrooms but in our everyday lives.

Bridegroom said, “I think the benefits are that it would be better for the environment. When we throw away recyclables in the garbage, they go to landfills or end up in waterways and oceans. Plastic takes about 1,000 years to degrade and that usually ends up in our soil to contaminate it. Throwing away plastic is really terrible, and I was really surprised to find out that the one place that has the majority plastic doesn’t have any recycling cans.”

In the end, the question we need to ask ourselves is if we want to keep adding to the population that chooses not to recycle. It’s not fair to the students at GHS, because it’s not their choice whether or not there are recycling cans in the cafeteria. What we need is a solution. The student council is in charge of making sure that the school is safe every day, so why are they making our planet unsafe? The student council needs to bring back recycling cans in our cafeteria so we can start recycling again on a daily basis. At the moment, the decision of whether or not recycling cans should be available rests in their hands. They make decisions that benefit the whole school, and what they don’t know is that this decision is just as important as the rest.