Green Grens raise awareness for improving students’ recycling habits on school grounds

Megan Casey, Editor-in-Chief

Today, in order to preserve our resources, people need to be more environmentally aware of what is damaging the Earth and what we as a community can do to help. The Earth is our home and, therefore, we should be trying to protect it to keep it a safe place to live for all people.

One of the ways we can protect the Earth and its resources is by recycling. Green Grens, EGHS’s environmental club that focuses on informing students about environmental topics, wants to make the students and staff aware of our current recycling habits. According to Kyle Burritt, EGHS’s associate principal, our school is the worst at recycling in the district.

As a school we throw away about 400 tons of garbage every year and are only recycling 19 percent of that. Green Grens believe that our goal as a school should be to recycle more (at least increase our recycling percentage of 19 percent to 75 percent) because it costs the district about $50 per cubic yard of garbage thrown away, but only about $10 per cubic yard to recycle. Increasing recycling could dramatically cut costs for EGHS and District 214, and those savings could be used for other programs to benefit students.

“There was a survey done by Green Grens, which wasn’t vast in numbers, but it clearly says that we think we know what we’re doing here recycling, however, we have facts and figures that we are not recycling because we’re doing 19 percent of our volume,” Burritt said.

In survey results, it was revealed that 82 percent of those students said that they do know what can be recycled, but only 65 percent said that they recycle every day. As a school, we have to start with what we do have in our immediate backyard, and that backyard is Elk Grove High School. A single area where we’re the worst at is the cafeteria, which is possibly related to students not understanding what can be recycled.

“We’d like to have a link from the EGHS website that would have categories like resources where you can go and recycle,” guidance counselor and Gren Grens sponsor Steve Gordon said.

Items such as paper, plastic and glass can be recycled as well as latex paint, toner cartridges and both re-chargeable and non-rechargeable batteries.

The biggest event in the last few school years for Green Grens was the Electronics Recycling event where tons of electronics were collected to recycle from the local communities. Green Grens also donated, within the last couple of years, more than $1200 to A+ rated charities.

There also is the possibility that by working with Elk Grove Village and other local municipalities, the school could have a more broad multi-site hosting event for some recycling in the future.

“I think a topic like this can’t be just one person; it can’t be one group; it has to be kind of organic from the ground up,” Gordon said. “It’s got to come from you guys as a student body.”

Green Grens plans on meeting with social studies teacher, Joseph Bush’s Leadership class in order to help enforce and spread the word about our recycling habits as a school and as a community.

“I think between Green Grens and the Student Leadership group, we can get kind of a campaign awareness to make sure that kids are aware and thinking about it,” Burritt said