Mirador Talks Trash On Campus

Hannah Christopher, Staff Writer

Like a stage crew behind an elaborate well-run play, the custodians at Miramonte keep our school running. To name a few parts of their daily job, they manage set-up and clean-up of events and sporting games, and clean class rooms and bathrooms. However, one thing they shouldn’t have to clean is negligently left behind trash. With district-wide cutbacks, the custodians at Miramonte have been cutback from seven to four in number, each taking on a much larger workload. Sometimes custodians will have three events in one night held in the cafeteria, requiring four to five hours of set-up and clean-up. Keep in mind that this is added onto their nightly routine of cleaning classrooms, bathrooms, and other areas on campus. From when school gets out at 3:05 p.m. each day to around 11:30 p.m., the custodians work hard to keep our campus looking pristine.
As for daytime clean-up, there is only one custodian on campus, which leaves one custodian to clean-up the trash after brunch and lunch. On average, it takes an hour and a half to clean-up the Quad after lunch, sometimes longer during the warm months when most of the student body eats lunch on the Quad rather than the cafeteria or in classrooms.
Trash on campus can also be a large expense for the school. According to associate principal Jan Carlson, recycling is a much more cost-effective method of waste control. The recycling process costs a small fraction of the expense accrued, sending 100 bags of trash to the landfill each week. “Miramonte should lead the district in the green movement, pioneering composting and creating a more environmentally conscious student body,” Ms. Carlson said.
According to Miramonte’s Head Custodian Steve Miller, a minimum of 25 bags of trash are collected each day on campus. A recent trash audit by the Environmental Club sorted through eight bags of trash and found that only two of them needed to be sent to the landfill. The other six bags should have been divided between compost and recycling. However within the next few weeks students will have another option for disposing of trash.
As a pilot, the Environmental Club is implementing composting in the teachers’ lounge and in the bathrooms where students can dispose of soiled paper. “If we see sufficient understanding of this process, we will bring composting to the entire campus,” Club President Sam Shain said. Starting Feb. 3, composting will be brought to Miramonte, providing a more environmentally friendly way to dispose of trash. Students are encouraged to make a more consciousness decision of when to dispose and help our school.
As for right now, students can do a few simple things to help elevate Miramonte to lead the district in the green movement. Reduce, reuse, and recycle; some of the oldest tricks in the book. Try bringing your lunch in a reusable container to reduce plastic and paper bags. Also invest in a reusable water bottle; that will pay for itself after a very short period of time. As for recycling, bins have been placed next to each trash can on campus to make recycling easier for students. So take the time to really think about how you’re disposing of your trash and if you are making a conscious effort to recycle.
We are an intelligent and proactive student body that needs to start applying our basic skills that we learned at a very young age to how we treat our surroundings. Take pride in our campus and in our school. When we start taking ownership for our Quad, classrooms, bathrooms, sports fields, etc., we start taking pride in the high achieving school that Miramonte is. The steps are small and simple, however they are, impactful and thoughtful when the entire student body rises up and makes a change. Step up Mats!