Members of the McNicholas student body and faculty began to push for a more active recycling program for the 2018-2019 school year.
The new recycling initiative is accompanied by a series of changes on the McNicholas campus, which include signs
“When I learned that it was just all trash, it was wrong. It was specifically wrong and nobody was doing anything about it,” said junior Student Council member Marie Steinkuhl. “It’s like if you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself.”
According to Student Council moderator and English teacher Anne Jones, educating the students and keeping them on board with recycling is crucial for the success initiative. Recycling at McNicholas is divided into two categories: classroom and cafeteria. For a while there was an issue with who was going to empty the recycling from the classrooms.
According to science teacher Regina Goines, Ecology Club students used to manage the recycling for McNick. “For a long time we tried to have eco kids do it, but A, there weren’t enough of them to cover the whole school, and B, they would forget, and C, why can’t each teacher be responsible for emptying their own recycling?” Goines said. Even though McNicholas High School’s drive to recycle lost momentum over the years, a few students and faculty, have decided to focus on a more ecological method of discarding waste.
“Recycling has been sort of a two pronged effort. We had recycling in the classrooms,” Goines said. “The other piece was the cafeteria recycling, and that’s the one where we’ve really had a lot of struggles over the years.”
Over time this issue has been resolved. As long as teachers are responsible for recycling in their classrooms, classroom recycling can continue, even though the effort to recycle in the classroom is only half of the initiative.
According to Goines, complications regarding cafeteria recycling arose when Rumpke changed its policy, and asked that recyclables be placed in something other than a plastic bag, which presents logistical issues. Another issue has been student participation and informing the student body of the process.
“The other important part [of recycling] is education and making sure the students know about it and they understand what they can and can’t recycle,” said Jones “That’s when the junior Student Council kids got together and put that video together.”
Future plans to move forward with the initiative include adding signs to all of the recycling and trash cans in the cafeteria and introducing eco-friendlier packaging for food sold during lunch.
“Recycling is good for yourself, but it’s also good for everybody around you and for the earth as a whole,” Steinkuhl said about the importance of recycling. “It’s a win-win-win.”