What To Do With All That Trash


Do you ever look at how many trash cans you pass by each day in school? There is at least one in each classroom, not to mention the ones lining all of the tables in the cafeteria and around each corner of every hallway. All of those trash cans can only lead us to one conclusion: Lake Mary High School produces a ton of trash.

Clearly this is an issue, so what can we do about it? Unfortunately there is not an instant fix, but considering the rapidly decaying state of the environment, we can’t afford to give up. Part of this issue is due to Seminole County’s lack of funding into recycling and eco-friendly resources. I looked into other school districts participation in recycling initiatives, and Seminole County’s neighbor, Orange County, has put a few programs in place to create a more eco-friendly school system. One of the programs they implemented was a recycling plan. Not only do they have over a 50% recycling rate, but they also have a recycling audit program. In this plan, they conduct three audits a year, which include “visual observations of the recycling and solid waste dumpsters to determine if acceptable program materials are being separated into the correct dumpster.  Classrooms, offices and common areas are then looked at to see if recycling education signage and recycling bins are present” (Orange County Public School Website). By doing this, the recycling process is done effectively and genuinely makes an impact. So many people want to recycle but don’t know how, so by teaching students how to recycle properly, they can use the knowledge they learn now to be environmentally conscious for the rest of their lives.

Now, I want you to think about how much food you see half eaten in the cafeteria, or the food that hasn’t even been opened and is just chucked in the garbage can. There is a better alternative to just throwing all of this food away! In fact, Orange County schools partnered with the city of Orlando, which “provided the collection containers, marketing materials and transportation of the food waste to a facility which uses the scraps as an alternative energy source to create electricity. In addition, the schools also made a concerted effort to collect all unopened, uneaten food to offer to other students and local non-profits” (Orange County Public School Website). Imagine how much food could be used for a greater purpose than just the trash can. If the schools in Seminole County partnered up with the cities they are located in to create a plan that allowed for food waste to be recycled, it would help lighten up the load of garbage collected each day and it would have beneficial side effects. Seminole County schools should give food a second chance, and we should work to create a program that leaves as little food to waste as possible.

This issue might not be the quickest fix, but we need to start fixing it quickly. We need to stop ignoring this problem and work to make Seminole County schools an eco-friendly environment, one piece of trash at a time.