Earth Club revamps recycling program


Orly Mansbach

Recycling Graphic.jpegPractically any student or teacher at Grady can attest to the high rates of paper consumption at the school. Despite that, there have been minimal efforts to reduce or recycle in recent years, leading to amounts of waste that the Earth Club deemed unacceptable on behalf of both students and teachers.

“I notice teachers and students throwing away paper like it’s nothing,” Rwan Hayeck, co-president of the Earth Club, said of Grady’s lack of recycling. “I always cringe a little when I see that and realized we need a change.”

The club recently proposed a plan to principal Dr. Betsy Bockman, detailing exactly how to implement a new recycling program in an effort to contribute less waste as a school.

The club’s plan is outlined as follows: survey teachers to evaluate who would be open to participating in such a program, distribute bins around the school, advertise the program to students during advisement and contact Yvonne Douglas, the Atlanta Public Schools environmental director, to ensure a smooth transition with the school janitors.

“This year, we started earlier, and we’re not taking as much time to do everything,” Hayeck said. “We’re being urgent about it because if we don’t get it done by the end of the year, it may never happen.”

Dr. Bockman approved the plan in December, and the Earth Club has since started preparations.

“We started posting up flyers throughout the school, and we went to each advisement and gave them a presentation about what to recycle and what not to recycle,” Hayeck said. “We’re trying to make people more aware that there are going to be a recycling option for them now.”

Club members have also already conducted the teacher surveys and ordered recycling bins for those classrooms that don’t yet have one. The Earth Club aims to put the final touches in place as soon as possible to avoid repeating a failed attempt at a similar program before.

“We tried to start last year, but there were problems with the distribution of recycling bins and the getting the administration involved, and our teacher sponsor, Ms. (Korri) Ellis, left, so there were a lot of problems,” Hayeck said.

Pierre Davis, AP Environmental Studies teacher, is the new sponsor of the Earth Club. He serves as the liaison between the club and other teachers, and he is hopeful that the recycling initiative will succeed.

“It’s a great idea, and I think in the long run it will definitely be successful,” Davis said. “Like anything, it is a process, and we’re just getting started, but I anticipate a major success.”

Hayeck said the most challenging aspect of the new program is changing the mindset of students to prioritize recycling. Senior Grace Dwyer agrees, recalling a recent time when Grady attempted to enact a similar recycling movement, only to fail because of lack of student support.

“I’m excited to see the return of the recycling initiative at Grady,” Dwyer said. “We’ve tried it in the past, so I hope it really works this time. I’m not too sure Grady students will get into it and make a difference, but I think with the right push it’s possible.”

According to the Earth Club’s plan, teams of two to three students will pick up recycling materials every Thursday or Friday and dispose of them in a dumpster outside the school. This is in contrast to the current situation, where all waste gets disposed of at the end of every day by the janitorial staff.

If all goes according to plan, recycling will become easy and accessible for both teachers and students by the end of the year, leading to a heightened sense of awareness of the environment.

“Recycling helps instill a sense of responsibility and educates the students more on the environment,” Hayeck said. “But it also gives them a habit of recycling so that, even when they graduate, they’ll still recycle and remember to help the environment.”

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