More often than not, the school’s trash and recycling ends up going to the dumpster in the same load, despite us having a recycled material receptacle. If you peer into any recycling bin located in your classroom, it probably contains trash that is not recyclable or is drenched in some mysterious liquid.

Both the staff and the students should make a larger effort to recycle and be conscientious of how much is wasted.

Reusing and recycling prevents some waste produced at school from ending up in a landfill. According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, materials diverted for recycling and reuse in 2013 accounted for 1,291,239 tons of materials that was not landfilled. When waste decomposes in a landfill, methane, a greenhouse gas, is released into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases absorb the sun’s energy, causing Earth’s surface temperature to increase. This phenomenon known as “climate change” is detrimental for countless ecosystems, so schools should take every measure they can do avoid contributing to landfills and deforestation.

While good for the environment, recycling and reducing is also more cost-efficient. By reducing the amount of paper and cardboard used, the school saves money on supplies. Additionally, increasing the amount recycled decreases the cost of waste disposal. The Community Waste Disposal that administers recycling and garbage disposal for the City of Keller charges lower rates for residential recycling services than garbage services. If this trend remains consistent with commercial rates, then the school would save money by recycling more.

Many people may emphasize how difficult separating recycled materials and garbage would be excessive for our already stretched thin janitorial staff. While this is a valid concern, many solutions can solve the problem of staff shortage. Volunteer hours can be offered for students who volunteer to gather all of the recycle bins and take their contents out to the receptacle. This way, students have more of an incentive to recycle and help the environment.

Enforcing a recycling policy is the best choice environmentally and economically. Texas law already requires school districts to have recycling programs (Texas Health and Safety Code, Section 361.425) and we should do our best to uphold this. To further urge the administration to push for recycling, students should make an effort to carefully separate their trash and their recycled goods.