Garbage cans in the Elkin High/Middle School cafeteria outnumber the recycling bins. –
Caring for the environment is a topic most teens today find important, but some do not take action to do anything about it. Most kids are in school for about six and a half hours every day, five days a week, 180 days a year on average. Each of those days, students throw away paper, plastics and cans in the classroom and cafeteria. Imagine if every day, all students recycled or reused?
Elkin High school has taken the idea of reusing seriously through the MakerSpace which has shelves of materials donated by parents, students and faculty, ranging from paper towel cylinders to bottle caps. It is a great way to creatively reuse items for classroom projects. Last year, innovation leader, Amanda Hearl, even held a grade-level contest to entice students to bring in items which could be reused in MakerSpace projects instead of thrown away.
EHS faculty also continue to bring items to the media center and parents donate throughout the school year which means the idea of reusing has caught on well at EHS. Recycling, however, is an area which could use some work.
Not every classroom has a recycling bin at Elkin High School, and not everything is recycled that could be. Dr. Myra Cox, Superintendent of Elkin City Schools, felt students in Elkin City Schools were aware of the need to recycle, but maybe did not always think of it at the time. “Students are aware of the importance of recycling, but I do believe that some students still struggle with doing it.” While increasing the amount of recycling is a goal, Cox would also like to reduce the use of styrofoam, which is difficult if not impossible to recycle.
While district initiatives to reduce waste and recycle more could certainly help the planet, individual students can also help. The average person drinks four bottles of water a day. If the plastic one-use bottles were replaced with reusable ones, a person could save up to 1,460 water bottles a year. That is a lot of plastic that would not end up in a landfill or the ocean.
Another way to reduce plastic waste is by locating and using the recycling bins in school. Although there are recycling bins clearly labeled in the school cafeteria, many students use the trash can instead to quickly dispose of their plastics and cans.
Cox, however, has not given up on improving the recycling rate for Elkin City Schools. “We are currently working on improving our school’s recycling and making it easier to recycle and reuse,” she explained.
Garbage cans in the Elkin High/Middle School cafeteria outnumber the recycling bins.