Why Did Recycling Stop?

Daniel Scott

Recycling seems simple. Most of us recycle normally at home, or out in public. But why does Beavercreek High School no longer recycle?

During my first year in the main building as a sophomore, the school was actively recycling. Teachers encouraged it, and every classroom had separate bins for trash and recycling. However, when I came back to in-person learning at the high school for my junior year, recycling had stopped. I discussed it with my English teacher, yet neither of us ever came up with a concrete answer as to why we stopped recycling.

I wanted to get an official answer as to why recycling still hasn’t returned to the high school. I emailed Head Principal Dale Wren and had the pleasure of meeting with him and Assistant Principal Laura Bailey. We met, discussed recycling in general, and decided to set a date to meet again and lay down concrete facts. Mrs. Bailey started out by stating that “covid was really the driving force in us stopping. We were trying to decrease spread.” Based on the information presented at a 2020 Board meeting, it was deemed that students collecting recycling from multiple rooms were a high-risk spreading activity. Mr. Wren then told me that “our recycling contract still exists, we still have the bins for collection, and the dumpster outside for it.” Meaning that the ability to recycle is still present, and still paid for. After showing my enthusiasm for restarting recycling, Mr. Wren finished by explaining that “I see no reason why we couldn’t start recycling again this year, and if not, next year is certainly a possibility.” Knowing I had administrative support, I was emboldened to continue figuring out more about the previous recycling program, and how I could potentially find a way to see its continuation.

After meeting with the principals, we all agreed that my next course of action should be to speak with Mrs. Rizzotte. She is the head of our special needs department and is one of the driving forces behind the school’s recycling program. I was excited to meet with her to discuss the information I obtained from Mr. Wren and Ms. Bailey, as well as how we could move forward.

I started out by asking for some insight into the history of the high school’s recycling program. Mrs. Rizzotte shared that about 15 years ago “we started the effort because we have a teacher that is very recycling friendly.” She further explained that the recycling program used to be part of the vocational class, and it was students from this class that were tasked with this job. However, since the start of covid, the vocational class has moved onto something new. “We have a full vocational class that is involved in the Greene County Spark Program, which prints full banners such as the ones on walls in classrooms, t-shirts, and large posters”. With the vocational class dedicated to this program, there has been no class to take their place in the recycling collection effort. Before leaving, I asked Ms. Rizzotte one more thing: Would you be interested in starting up the recycling program this year or the start of next year? “Nothing is off the table” she responded, and asked that I make sure to explain that she is not giving a concrete yes or no answer as of now. She left me with the suggestion that a student-organized effort could be created to collect recycling during study hall, and she would be more than happy to be the advisor for a club of this sort.

What happens next? I personally believe it is important that the school continues to recycle and students help do their part. With the size of our student body and the amount of recyclable items that pass through our school each day, we have the potential to make an impact on the amount of recyclable items that waste away in landfills. I personally support reinstating the recycling program, and am looking into starting a recycling club per Ms. Rizzotte’s suggestion. Volunteering will be optional and I will update this article with more information when I work out more of how the program could work. But for now, recycling at Beavercreek High School is still on hiatus.