Recycling picks up around Blair

Aug. 4, 2002, midnight | By Rachel Yood | 19 years, 9 months ago

Program lacks full participation

Blair's recycling program went into full effect this September, but according to a Silver Chips survey, students are not cooperating with new efforts to recycle more of Blair's waste.

A new regulation passed at the beginning of last school year requires all MCPS schools to recycle a minimum of 55 percent of their refuse.

According to an Aug 29 article in The Gazette, the school system produces over 14,000 tons of waste each year, much of it recyclable.

MCPS increased its recycling rate from 7.5 percent of all trash two years ago to 18 percent second semester last year, according to the Gazette article.

Building Services Manager James Brown estimates that Blair recycles about 65 percent of its refuse. He said that Blair produces between 80 and 100 bags of trash on a daily basis.

In an informal Silver Chips survey of 100 students on Sept 25, nearly one in every four students said they sometimes put trash in the recycling bins. Nearly half of the students surveyed said that when in school, they usually throw away their paper, cans and bottles rather than recycle them.

Paper from recycling bins is often thrown out when soda or other trash is added to the bin, Brown said. "Once the paper gets contaminated, it has to be discarded," he explained.

Although the old Blair had a functional recycling program, the new Blair's recycling program did not start until last year and did not become fully operational until mid-September of this year.

Blair's recycling program was evaluated last February by the Montgomery County Department of Public Works and Transportation and received a ‘C' grade. The school was, according to the evaluation, in compliance with regulations but needed to make improvements. In another evaluation later that year Blair's grade improved to a ‘B.'

Bins with three holes in the lids for can-and-bottle recycling were initially introduced Sept 14 of this year. Brown said the lids were unavailable for installation until then. There are now at least six bins for recycling cans and bottles on each floor, said Brown.

While the administration waited for these lids to arrive last year, students from Students for Global Responsibility (SGR) acquired four such lids. Members put out the bins for can-and-bottle recycling and maintained them.

According to SGR co-president sophomore Maya Kosok, emptying the bins entailed dragging them to the loading dock, washing them, picking out trash discarded with the bottles and replacing trash bags.

Brown said that the recycling program needs more similar student involvement to be successful. "Recycling is supposed to be a whole-school activity—that means staff, students and building services," said Brown.

At this point, the recycling program most needs student participation, according to Brown. He said students should be more conscientious about what they put into recycling bins.

The paper recycling program instituted last year faced problems similar to those of the can-and-bottle program. The building services staff was unable to get bins for collecting paper until last Thanksgiving, said Brown.

Teachers are now responsible for bringing paper bins to intersections of hallways on Tuesdays and Fridays for pickup by building services. Paper recycling is mandatory in every classroom, and teachers may also collect cans and bottles.

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Rachel Yood. Rachel Yood is a junior in the Communication Arts Program at Blair. She is excited to join Silver Chips as a page editor, but suspicious of the time the newspaper seems to take from her primary activity: sleeping. When not working or curled up in … More »

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