Recycling In GHHS

Graham Dilley 4.17.2019
A landfill like the ones caused by throwing everything away (Photo: Wikimedia Images).

Recycling has become a pressing topic in our modern society with the environmental changes occuring. People are still ignoring it and many may have no idea how to properly recycle. This holds true in our high schools even more than in people's homes or work. Some high schools do not recycle at all while others such as Grandview Heights High School have recycling bins available but the bins are dumped into trash bins and taken by the garbage disposal anyway. This was verified by assistant principal Mr. Hinkle: “Yeah, they dump the recycling into the trash and it all goes to the landfill anyway.”

Almost 75 percent of the waste from school can be diverted from the waste bins, with roughly 25 percent of it being recyclable paper and cardboard and another 50 percent is food material and non-recyclable paper that goes into the recycling. People have a lack of education as to what to recycle and need to be further educated as to what can be and what can not be recycled.

When people do not recycle, it damages the environment. A statistic that supports this is the fact that only 25% of water bottles are recycled per year. This wastes close to a billion gallons of oil per year. There's close to 44 million cubic yards of space that is used for landfills in the US.

Two Grandview Heights students are taking this issue on. Grace Rubin and Nina Amicon have seen the problem and are working to solve it. Grace Rubin is a junior at Grandview Heights High School and Nina Amicon is a senior. Taking steps to solve this issue, they have been working closely with Grandview Heights staff Shawn Hinkle and Robert Brown, the assistant principal and principal of GHHS.

One issue that they have taken on is the lunch trays and the utensils that students and staff are using for lunch. The lunch trays that have been being used for a long time now were styrofoam. Now, this was cheap and easy, but styrofoam cannot be recycled and all these lunch trays were going straight into the trash. They worked with Mr. Mahan, the GHHS Food Service Director, to get in place compostable lunch trays to cut down on the amount of trash that is produced at lunch by Grandview Heights High School.

That was the start of their journey, and they have continued on with meetings and new changes to to make the school a more environmentally friendly place. Speaking at the middle and elementary school, they informed young children about recyclable materials and non-recyclable materials.

They have also set into place the sale of reusable mugs to cut down on the amount of styrofoam cups being used at Bobcat Beverages. The mugs are $5.00 to buy and provide a discount at the beverage stand to those who come with the mug for their drinks. Continuing with their project, some of their future plans involve speaking to the high school and informing them on the same topics as the elementary and middle school (recyclable versus non recyclable). Another future plan is getting in place a recycling program that takes the recycling from the school and actually recycles it instead of just the trash being mixed with the recycling and it all being thrown away.

This is a problem, a serious one. The environment is taking a hit because we are being wasteful with something as simple as the tray that we use for lunch. They can be used for something much better than just being tossed in the trash. They can be recycled or composted to help save the environment.

It shows the amount of damage that we are doing to the environment with some of serious statistics. When we have reached about a 75% recycling level in the US, it will have the same environmental (and CO2) impact as taking 55 million cars off the road every year. Along with saving the environment, it is going to create jobs for many people. According to Recycle Across America, it will create 1.5 million jobs in the US when we reach the 75% recycling level.

This means reaching that goal will not only help the environment, it will also create jobs and stimulate the economy of the US. The amount of effort would be rewarded multiple times over if we can motivate and get plans in place to recycle, both in work places, and in high schools like Grandview Heights High School.