Recycling at Miramonte Goes Bad

Megan Freeman

Blue recycling bins are a common sight on campus.  However, as environmentally responsible as they seem, they may not be doing as much good as one would think.

Until a year ago, the leadership class took responsibility for recycling, but last year’s increased efforts to make students recycle dramatically increased the amount of effort required to take care of all of the waste.

AP  Environmental Science teacher Barbara Denny and her recycling assistants took over for leadership.

The assistants would empty the recycling bins into the correct dumpster because the custodians are not in charge of recycling.  Their union contract includes nothing about emptying recycling bins.

This year however, no students signed up to be recycling assistants, so the bins are rarely emptied.  Instead, they sit until they overflow and are sometimes even emptied into the regular trash.

“We need to establish a new system to take care of our recycling,” said Denny.  “Leadership said something about trying to make a committee with the Environmental Club, but so far nothing has come out of it.”

Besides the obvious environmental benefits to recycling, there is also another upside—the cost.  Disposing of regular trash costs three times as much as recycling.

“Last year Miramonte spent about $27,000 on waste management,” said Denny.  “If we could convert most of that waste into recycling waste, we could potentially save thousands of dollars.”

“Even though our system doesn’t work at all, we still want to encourage students to continue to recycle,” said sophomore Allison Light, co-president of the environmental club. “It makes a huge difference when the recycling is properly taken care of.

“Students this year have been a lot better about recycling, largely thanks to leadership and environmental club efforts,” said Denny.  “They put up posters and signs and everything.  But if our recycling doesn’t get emptied, that’s a serious problem.  We’re working on getting a system but it’s slow going.”

Leadership students confirmed they are interested in starting a program, but no progress has been made so far.

“What we really need is for everyone to step up and realize that it’s not just other peoples’ problems,” said Leadership teacher Valerie Peterson. “If we had a cycle of a bunch of classes that could send students out to empty the recycling and we traded off each month, that could work.  But first we need to get people to agree to it.”

If you are interested in helping our recycling dilemma and starting a recycling committee, contact the presidents of the environmental club: sophomores Light, Michelle Lee, and Julia Withers.

The club meets every other Tuesday in Denny’s AP environmental science classroom.