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Should Morse start recycling again?

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Recycling is the practice of converting waste into reusable materials. By separating plastics, paper, glass, cardboard, and many other recyclable goods, people can reduce the amount waste that ends up in landfills. While the average person may think about industry and businesses to create the biggest amount of waste, schools are often overlooked. Schools have the the responsibility of teaching the future generations; therefore they have the ability to influence environmental friendly behaviors in their students throughout their time in school. Sadly, Morse ceased to recycle this 2017-2018 school year. Since students were not separating their recyclables and trash responsibly, it became easier to simply send all waste to the landfill. But it is never too late to start again.

A 2015 school waste study conducted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency concluded that each student generates one half pound of waste per day per school. Michele Nestor, in a article, took this a step further and discovered that if Minnesota represented the entirety of the United States, “our public schools would produce roughly 14,500 tons of waste per day.”

The enormous amount of trash produced by schools in the modern age is significant enough to heavily impact the amount of waste that goes to the landfill. The more trash in these sanitary landfills that lack essential recycling and filtering, the more chemicals and methane gas, a dangerous greenhouse gas that in large amounts increases the effects of climate change, that leach into the ground and escape into the atmosphere.

Decreasing the amount that goes into the landfills helps decrease the overall impact the trash itself has on the environment. Additionally, recycling material helps lower the need to create new products, decreasing the waste generated to produce products such as paper and plastic bottles.

“Recycling items is a great way to cut down on the amount of goods that are manufactured from scratch, which then reduces the amounts of harmful chemicals used during processing,” stated Martie Lownsberry from

Schools have the tools to reach and engage a large audience and to teach students about the importance of recycling. It is a stepping stone to a more sustainable society, “.. it is well demonstrated that permanent attitudes and principles can be firmly established in children as they enter their teens,” Nestor highlights in her article.

However, even if these educational institutions have the power to impact generations of cleaner behavior, misconceptions hold back many’s progress.

“Schools are frequently interested in expanding opportunities to recycle, but are wary, believing that adding or expanding recycling programs will increase costs,” shared the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Although these programs are not free, the amount of additional cost are overestimated. In the end these recycling programs benefit more than damage a school. Another reason why a program might be impeded is due to the custodial staff or contractors being blamed for failure to comply.

One way to decrease the resistance of the janitors, Nestor suggested “to ensure that source-separated recyclables are not mixed with garbage and disposed, we place performance criteria in collection contracts.”

Although restarting a recycling program will be difficult after not having it for the entire year, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Bring back recycling will not only decrease the amount of waste being put into landfills, but it will improve our community as a whole. The habits students form in school will carry over to the home.

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