Last year, Howell North students and faculty recycled 15% more than they did in the 2006-07 school year, a sign that students and teachers alike are willing to go green, and ultimately, save the environment.
Every month, an average of five tons of paper products are collectively thrown into the blue recycle bins proudly displayed in the corners of every room in the building.
If you do the math, you’ll realize that that’s 90,000 pounds in a single year. And that’s just paper. Imagine the numbers if the school recycled glass. Or aluminum. Or plastic. The numbers would be staggering, considering all the beverages in the cafeteria are contained in either aluminum or plastic. So ask yourself: Why isn’t the school jumping on the green machine?
It’s because the other green, money, is getting in the way.
Abitibi Paper Retriever, the company that collects North’s recycling, charges to collect glass and plastics. And although they’ll collect cans for free, they won’t provide receptacles for anything but paper.
“[Abitibi] can come and get [the glass and plastic products], but they would charge for it,” Robin Yuede, the recycling coordinator for North said. “There’s just no one to pay for it.”
Yuede, who has been coordinator for the last eight years, said that teachers and students are concerned about recycling and are constantly trying to improve it.
“There’s more of an awareness, but more could be done,” Yuede said. “On locker clean out day, the trash cans are stuffed with notebooks and papers while there is an empty recycle bin right beside the trash cans.
“Students need to be more conscious of their decisions. They need to take the extra step and ask themselves ‘Do I put this in the recycle bin or the trash can? Do I use a spiral light bulb or a regular one?’ They just don’t think about it; sometimes that’s hard. But the thing is, it’s your future.”