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School implements recycling policy

By David Han
Published: October 2008

In order to push for a greener environment, The South Senate, in coordination with the Environmental Club, administration, and custodial staff, passed Phase 1 of a school-wide recycling policy, implemented on October 16.

Noticing how paper and bottles clutter the recycling bins, the Senate Recycling Committee, headed by juniors Ben Chelmow and David Han, drafted a policy which was unanimously passed last spring.

“There has never really been a clear [recycling] system, Chelmow said. “[David and I] wanted something that would benefit both the students and the school as a whole.

The policy calls for students to empty their paper recyclables into appointed paper receptacles around the school during long block advisories.

The custodial staff will then empty the green recycling bins into one of the two main recycling dumpsters outside the loading dock.

Last year, when the Recycling Committee introduced the proposal to the Environmental Club, it was welcomed with open arms.

“We’ve been trying for five, six years now to get paper recycling going again, Environmental Club advisor Sally Rosen said. “Any time you get a school this large, unless you have it as sort of a routine, it’s going to take a long time to get into that routine.

The Environmental Club, which spent most of last year trying to recycle paper, appreciated the Senate for approaching them, according to senior and Environmental Club member Sarah Coolidge.

“We would like it so that the environmental club could focus on other issues and the school itself could handle recycling without us, Coolidge said.

Since the unanimous passing of the recycling proposal by the South Senate on March 6 last spring, the Recycling Committee has worked to revise the policy with the administration and custodial staff.

“This new process demonstrates [Senate's] commitment to change the school, principal Brian Salzer said.

Head custodian Dan Bianchi saw the policy as a new way for students to get involved in the school.

According to Rosen, the school has never had a school-wide policy change since its renovations a decade ago.

“There is a strong concern for recycling at south, but, as with many things, is not being fully exemplified through action, Chelmow said.

Senate president Bill Humphrey mentioned that the Student Recycling Initiative “is definitely an example of the policy area of where the Senate can have a positive role in the community.

According to custodian Mike Kelly, the recycling policy has been successful so far.

“I’m only finding paper in the bins, Kelly said. “Last year, cans and paper got mixed up. There was even some trash in the recycling bins.

Rosen and Coolidge hope that the recycling policy will remain part of South.

“It’s one to just have the environmental club beg everyone to recycle, but it’s another thing to have a legislative organization in the school coordinating between administrators, custodial staff, environmental club, and students, Rosen said. “It never would have happened in this school if it weren’t for the South Senate being really committed to making this happen.

The survival of the policy, however, depends on the cooperation of the student body.

“People are busy with their lives, but it’s not that hard just to take one extra step, just one small thing during your day, to better the environment, Coolidge said.

Phase 1 of the policy regards recycling paper, 60 percent of the school’s recyclables. Phase 2, recycling cans and bottles, is to be passed this year. In Phase 3, the Committee hopes to be able to reorganize recycling in the Student Center.

“[Through the recycling initiative], the Senate showed, once again, the maturity and leadership it is developing as the voice of the student body, Salzar said.

Students can volunteer to recycle their paper during class as long as it does not interfere with the lesson.

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