By the year 2024, Connecticut wants to recycle at least 60% of waste produced; in Old Lyme we currently recycle about 27%. At LOLHS only an estimated 20% of all trash gets recycled, according to Mrs. O’Connor, the leader of the community service club and life skills class. Are we in high school doing enough recycling, and if not how can we improve? I set out to answer this question and the results might surprise you.
Mrs. O’Connor is one of the biggest proponents of recycling in our school, so I asked her what we can do to recycle more. “Right now, there is way too much waste.” She says that plastics like iced coffee cups and other one use bottles and cups are extremely over used and hardly ever get recycled. Cutting down on these could greatly reduce the amount of plastic that sent out into our environment. The best thing to do is carry a reusable bottle or mug and use it instead of a disposable. Another thing Mrs. O’Connor brought up was that the little milk cartons we get at lunch are 100% recyclable despite the fact that no one thinks to toss them into the recycling bin. She urges all of us to go to RecycleCT.com, a website that has information on what you can and can’t recycle. She also recommends watching a documentary called Plastic Ocean about plastic pollution in our oceans and developing the habit of proper recycling.
But not everything Mrs. O’Connor told me was so discouraging and sad, there are many ways our school already is recycling. In the commons or the foyer you may have noticed a bin labeled TREX. You can also find them at the LYSB and the Public Library. These bins are for recycling plastic bags, which are prohibited from single stream recycling. TREX uses these bags to make plastic decking. In addition to this, the life skills class collects returnable bottles and cans from the bins all around the school and then brings them to the supermarket to be redeemed,
Our recycling practices are beginning to improve, but the effort has only just begun. With less than 30% of our waste recycled, it is clear to see that we have a long way to go before we can say our school recycles. New programs and actions, though, are being taken to do as much as we can to make our school environmentally friendly as soon as possible.