Silver Chips Online

Blair launches new recycling program

Failing grade in 2006-2007 prompts more bins and increased supervision

By Anshul Sood, Online Sports Editor
November 19, 2007
Blair's Students for Global Responsibility (SGR) has launched a new recycling program in response to the failing grade Blair received in recycling from Montgomery County last year. The new program adds more collection bins and establishes a way to supervise all the recycling that occurs through a committee, according to social studies teacher and SGR sponsor George Vlasits, program head.
Gili Perl
Freshman Laura McGehee tosses a bottle into the school's new blue-topped recycling bins and trashcans. The new members of the Blair community mark the school’s effort to help conserve Mother Earth’s resources.

According to Blair's business manager James Funk, Montgomery County judges schools in recycling through a physical inspection of the trash coming out of the building as well as a review of the building. Blair failed to adequately meet these criteria and was therefore given a failing grade by the county.

Vlasits cites many flaws with Blair's previous recycling strategies that he intends to fix. The primary issue was contamination with trash in recycling bins, which rendered the recycling useless. This problem has been particularly notable in paper recycling, and Vlasits's agenda includes a reduction of such waste. "I want to put lids on the top of all paper recycling bins to reduce the amount of contamination," he said. "Not eliminate all contamination, but reduce it."

In previous years, poor leadership has been a problem with the recycling program, according to Vlasits. "The building services staff was not properly informed or supervised in collecting and disposing of recycled materials," he said. Vlasits expressed such great disapproval of last year's program that he felt Blair did not have one. "The failing grade was well deserved. We essentially never had a recycling program." To remedy organizational issues, Funk is planning on holding a training session for the building services staff.

Vlasits was chosen to head the program because he was in charge of handling recycling at Blair seven years ago. To assist him, a committee composed of teachers, students and building services staff - led by media specialist Lisa Hack – has been commissioned to supervise the process.

While the committee will work to establish an effective program, Funk took the first step by obtaining new recycling containers from the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). Funk was able to secure 35 new recycling containers for the building. Originally, MCPS did not budget money for recycling but changed the policy this year.

Funk hopes the new containers will bring about change in the school's recycling levels. "We didn't have the resources we needed to cover the building," he said. "Hopefully the new containers will bring about improvement."

Future plans for the program include implementation of recyclable or reusable trays in the cafeteria and ways to prevent bins from becoming contaminated with trash. But overall, the goal of the new program is to change Blair's recycling attitude. "Really what we are trying to do is to create increased awareness in recycling," said Vlasits. "A change in the recycling attitude from students and staff would really benefit Blair."

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/7916