Metea takes a step forward in the recycling program

Saving the turtles is not only about recycling plastic straws. At Metea Valley, students and faculty throw away much more than just straws. The recycling bin is commonly used as another trash bin, which causes the school to throw away everything that was put in that bin.  

Each classroom is given a trash bin and recycling bin at the beginning of the year. The recycling bins are intended for paper and cardboard, but students and faculty throw away trash in them, and that contaminates everything that could be recycled. 

The recycling bins in the classrooms are only meant for paper and cardboard. Plastic bags, plastic water bottles, and cans should not be put in the classroom bins. In the commons, the small recycling bins can be used for empty cans or water bottles.

Students and staff, at times, have confusion on what can and can not go in the recycling bins.  “In our office it turned into an extra trash can at times where paper towels and other things go because it was right there next to everything,” Athletic Director Matt Ferhmann said. 

The use of plastic water bottles are diminished for the most part with the help of trainers that provides water for everybody at practices, such as reusable Gatorade bottles and the camel fountain. But, “that’s not to say sometimes out on the track, I’m picking up water bottles and things at after school events and meets,” Fehrmann said. In order to keep a clean field, students can pick up their bottles and recycle them themselves. 

The District 204 Board has been trying to solve the ongoing problems with the use of recycling bins. At a spring conference with District 204 faculty and administration, “the biggest concern [discussed] was the number of things that aren’t getting recycled that we want recycled,” Assistant Principal Dan DeBruycker said. 

They also discussed what was found in the classroom bins during the past school year. The administrators noticed that “plastic wrappers that are not recycled, bottles with still pop in them, and basically food waste is what we’re finding in there,” facility manager Gerardo Nunez said. 

It is not the job of faculty at the school to sort through every recycling bin and decide what should be recycled and what should not. The goal of the faculty this school year is that students will do their part to create a better environment and more awareness for the recycling program.