Linn-Mar Needs to do More to Promote Recycling

Linn-Mar Needs to do More to Promote Recycling

Maddie Port, Contributing Reporter

Many students at Linn-Mar have heard, and believe, rumors about the school not recycling waste products placed in the recycling bins. Instead, some people maintain that the school instead pairs the recyclable waste with trash waste and dispose of both in the landfill. With over 2,000 students attending Linn-Mar, multiple tons of waste are disposed of each month. If this rumor is true, there must be a change. Discarded materials within our school that are placed in the recycling bins should be taken to the recycling receptacles and recycled. If Linn-Mar’s lack of recycling rumor is false, the schools’ inhabitants must be more conscious about recycling and should be encouraged to recycle on a daily basis in order to help our environment.

Linn-Mar began recycling during the 1998-1999 school year, with rumors of their lack of recycling beginning in 2008, having been passed along for over twelve years now. In a random survey of 92 Linn-Mars’ students, 76 percent explained they believed Linn-Mar did not recycle; a mere 26 percent believe the school does recycle properly. According to Dr. Gustason, the rumors are false and began when a retired member of the custodial staff shared with other Linn-Mar staff that he had overheard one of the recycling collectors say that the recycling and trash collected by his company was all taken to the landfill.

Regardless of whether the rumor is true or not, recycling is still a problematic area in the high school. Think of the thousands of sheets of loose-leaf paper used and placed in waste bins each day, or the countless number of plastic water bottles thrown away each day. Three out of every four recyclable items disposed of within schools find their way to a trash bin rather than a recycling bin, even though the recycling bin is located a mere foot away. People must be retrained to think first of recycling items before throwing them away.

The Linn-Mar school cafeteria, for example, is a recycling enthusiast’s greatest nightmare. There are no recycling bins available to accept refuse within the cafeteria. Instead, multiple towering, grey trash bins stand chalk full of perfectly reusable products.

Just one ton of recycled paper can prevent 60 pounds of air pollutants from entering the environment. Linn-Mar disposes of multiple tons of waste each month and if recyclable items are disposed of properly, the school could make a significantly positive impact on its surrounding environment. Lack of recycling and air pollution are a couple of the most prevalent causes of climate change worldwide. If high schools across the nation, and, perhaps worldwide, became more recycling conscious, the impact would be outstanding.

Isha Kalia, a passionate recycler and environmentalist at Linn-Mar, says that students do not have much faith in the recycling initiative at Linn-Mar.

“I think right now, the majority of Linn-Mar students don’t care about recycling that much,” says Kalia.

Many say the reason they do not recycle is because they are uneducated about what items can be or cannot be recycled. Because of this lack of understanding, too much waste is thrown into a trash bin rather than being recycled.

“Iowa is very sheltered in terms of pollution and climate change. I definitely think it’s getting better, but our school and community have to make some changes for the student body to understand the severity of the pollution on earth. Nobody is showing students what’s right.”

The only true way to increase recycling at Linn-Mar is to inform the students about what can be recycled, how recycling impacts the environment, and to encourage the school’s population to recycle on a daily basis. It is imperative for students to be informed about how recycling greatly impacts the environment, but also about greenhouse gases, pollution, climate change, and other detrimental environmental concerns that are prevalent in today’s society. If each student is made aware of how to contribute to the recycling initiative, the world’s environment can be changed for the better.