Since schools waste up to 80 percent of recyclables, schools make a huge impact when or if they recycle. Recycling is in fact cheaper than trash disposal which helps the environment and school budgets. There’s every reason for schools to recycle, but why doesn’t Newport Mesa Unified School District recycle?
The district partners with waste hauling contractor Ware Disposal Inc., where at least 50% of trash that is collected from the schools and offices is taken from the landfill and recycled per state of California requirements.
Ware partners with the Madison Materials transfer station which handles and sorts trash, recyclables, etc. They claim that Ware picks everything up with one vehicle and no longer requires source separation on the part of schools. “This saves time, reduces traffic and promotes a safer environment for our schools,” as stated by the NMUSD website. Although Ware Disposal makes recycling and getting rid of waste easier, the school could help make separating recyclables and waste more manageable by having blue or green recycling bins beside the trash cans around Estancia’s campus.
Many students like Yuridia Zarate, a sophomore at Estancia High School, says, “I use plastic water bottles and during school I don’t know where to dispose [of] them and I don’t like throwing it[them] away in the trash.” Many students, in fact 38.5% of students who are concerned about the environment, believed that the district does not recycle and 30.8% believed that the district expected them to recycle themselves. With the presence of recycling bins the students and staff gain the habit of keeping the school and environment a clean place. Generally, people will most likely not do it on their own unless there are bins. Savanna Ortiz, a Estancia High School sophomore claims that, “this is a step closer to a happy and peaceful environment for students and staff.” Our environment will not improve unless further steps are taken into consideration, like adding recycling bins around Newport Mesa campuses.
When recycling bins are introduced to the schools, they surely can earn some money, so why throw away bottles when Estancia can get money for the school? It would be a wiser option because it is cheaper and beneficial for the environment. Samantha Sanchez, a sophomore at Estancia High School, believes that, “since the students use a large amount of plastic and aluminum it would be better for...our school to get recycling bins.” Not only will adding recycling bins beside each trash can on school campuses “be a good way to bring a small amount of funds into Estancia as well as educate students on what items can be recycled, but perhaps Estancia could use those funds to support some of our lesser known clubs or groups on campus. Maybe we could work out a system that whoever volunteers to take the bottles/ cans to the recycling centers would be able to keep the money for their clubs,” one of Estancia High School’s special education teacher, Crystal RIncon responded.
Recycling makes an impact on our environment. It can also be a positive step towards Estancia’s contribution to improving the environment on a local scale and can hopefully influence students outside of school to make a global impact.
Reporter: Guadalupe Olivarez-Mendoza