Students start recycling program.
Alex Spencer doesn’t characterize himself as a tree hugger, yet he feels a
class recycling project is important.
Spencer, and three others in a new environmental science class at Gothenburg High School, started the project at the beginning of the semester.“By recycling, we’re saving the county money because not as much junk goes into the landfill,” he said.
Without recycling, classmate Tiffani Maurer said the world would be more trashed than it is now.
Once a week, the students collect plastic bottles from barrels they’ve placed next to trash cans and boxes of used paper from classrooms, labs, the high school office and media center.
They sort through the bottles in Maggie Tiller’s classroom, emptying them if necessary and removing labels and caps.
That’s the gross part, students said, as they sometimes find chew and food waste in bottles.
About once a month, they load up what they’ve collected and take it to the city recycling bins at the maintenance shop at 1112 Ave.
Once full, Schaben Sanitation, Inc. takes recyclables to the Lexington Area Solid Waste Agency north of Lexington.
Tiller, a biology teacher, thought recycling might be a good project for the class which started this semester.
Students wrote a proposal about the project and presented it to principal Randy Evans who approved it.
They then got a couple of local businesses to donate plastic barrels to collect bottles and called Schaben’s to find out what they needed to do get the bottles ready for the recycling bins.
Students also created and put up posters around the school, asking classmates to recycle.
Most of the plastic is collected after sporting events although class members said they hoped there would be more.
“We want people to be aware that the receptacles are there for them to use,” Tiller said. “And if you still have half a pop, throw it in because we’ll take care of it.”
Maurer said she didn’t realize how wasteful people were until she watched an in-class, educational television show about recycling.
She noted that the average person produces 4.4 pounds of waste daily.
“And it’s more in developed, than underdeveloped, countries,” Tiller added.
Only one of the four students in the class recycles at home. Kendra Karaffa and her family recycle cans, plastic, paper and even food.
“We give it to the chickens,” Karaffa said.
So far, Spencer described the project as fun.
“It’s hands-on work for people who don’t like looking at a book all day long,” he said.
Tiller said students have taken much responsibility for the project.
And even though they expected to see more plastic in their receptacles, she said it’s going to take time for people to realize the service is available.
However Tiller said there’s been good response from teachers who fill boxes with paper in their classrooms.
“They’re throwing less paper away,” she said.