Students’ Garbage Habits Trash Cafeteria Recycling

Throwing garbage in recycling cans nixes environmental effort


Un marked recycling bin in the upper cafeteria Sept. 9, 2015.

Because students are throwing away trash in the cafeteria recycling bins, the high school does not recycle cafeteria waste.

The cafeteria recycling bins are lined with the same garbage bags as the trash cans. Traditional garbage bags cannot be recycled because they are not biodegradable. According to Head Custodian Sean Brown, most of the cafeteria recycling bins are filled with trash each day, so the contents are not recycled anyway.

In addition, there are more than twice as many trash cans as recycling bins in the cafeteria. Trash receptacles outnumber recycling bins 23 to 10. The recycling bins are also unmarked and tucked away in the back of the cafeteria, out of sight and hard to get to. The trash cans are placed in the center of the cafeteria, close to tables for easy access.  

According to Brown, the custodial staff used to put recycling bags in the recycling bins, but noticed they were not being used for recycling, so they switched to trash bags. Brown said that custodians do not sort through the trash to separate trash from recycling. Even if the recycling can contains mostly recyclables, if there is any trash in the bins, the contents cannot be recycled and must be thrown away.

Comment using your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL or Hotmail account