By Sophia Boxerman (News Editor).
“Recycling is not the end,” proclaims a poster hanging in Sharon High School walls.
It is merely a beginning for the Sharon Public Schools, which recently applied for a grant to hire a part-time recycling supervisor as a reaction to environmental concerns among parents in the community.
Megan Sullivan, the coordinator of Sharon’s recycling program, says that through recycling, the school is simultaneously saving energy, the environment, and costs. “Recycling actually is about 70 percent less expensive than throwing away trash,” she said.
Before the recycling initiative, the cafeteria had limited recycling bins used expressly for milk cartons. The initiative has implemented 4 stations for students to practice environmentally friendly waste disposal.
SHS senior Isabel Lisle, a partner in the new program, says that the stations include a bucket to pour liquids, a bin for recyclables, a trash can for other waste, and a table to stack trays to conserve space.
Lisle says that she complemented the school’s new recycling initiatives with an environmentally friendly idea of her own: Trash-Free Thursday, an effort to limit waste in the cafeteria on April 28.
She says that the idea for this project stemmed from an assignment in her humanities class requiring students to “pick a problem in the world, identify it, research it, and then solve it any way you can.”
“My problem was that I noticed a lot of people at lunch using plastic Baggies for a lot of foods that could easily be put in a container, like pasta,” Lisle said.
She says that she realized that most people who did this simply lacked the reusable materials. “I ended up raising money through a bake sale to buy a bunch of Tupperware, sporks, and Wrap-N-Mats to give to students to take to lunch instead,” Lisle said.
Lisle says that her project culminated in a school-wide waste reduction effort on April 28. “If you brought in a trash-free lunch that day with reusable containers and silverware, then you got a ticket that could be used to get a free baked good from the cafeteria,” she added.
Sullivan says that she gives credit to the cafeteria staff for also partaking in the trash free lunch, as they decided to replace the Styrofoam trays and plastic silverware usually used with reusable alternatives.
Biology teacher Ms. Byrne says that recycling is important everywhere, not just at school lunches. “We have limited resources and need to use them responsibly,” she said.
“We need to realize that the alternative is that everything ends up in landfills, and believe it or not, we have limited space in the world and cannot afford to fill up more than what is necessary with garbage,” Byrne added.
Senior Josh Slavin says the recycling “re-purposes waste,” leading to a healthier planet.
Libano says that any small step in ameliorating environmental concerns is helpful, but “recycling is a lifelong habit we all need to have if we’re going to help and progress our world.”