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Green Teens plan campus-wide recycling efforts for next year

Newspaper+advisor+David+Doerr%27s+recycling+bin+which+has+a+sign+placing+the+responsibility+to+recycle+on+students
Newspaper advisor David Doerr's recycling bin which has a sign placing the responsibility to recycle on students

Newspaper advisor David Doerr's recycling bin which has a sign placing the responsibility to recycle on students

Mylo Bissell

Mylo Bissell

Newspaper advisor David Doerr's recycling bin which has a sign placing the responsibility to recycle on students

Eli Gutierrez, Staff Writer

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For years now, classroom recycling at Akins has been almost non-existent.

Seeing the blue recycling bins in classrooms either sitting empty or that they are filled with non recyclable items on a daily basis has frustrated many on campus.

“A lot of people just throw stuff in the trash and it doesn’t get handled properly,” said junior Kaitlyn Medeiros.

Medeiros, a member of the Akins Green Teens club, said that she is frustrated with the way recycling is handled because it seems like it is not treated as a priority. However, it has caused her and other concerned faculty and students to take matters into their own hands to change it for the better.

The Green Teens believe that a lack of educational efforts on what can be recycled, what can’t, and the general belief around campus that items placed in the tubs will never actually be recycled has led to a breakdown in the system.

The blue tubs meant for single-stream recycling were introduced to classrooms in 2010, and students and teachers still are confused on how to use them and who is responsible for emptying them in the recycling dumpsters. Some believe that custodians should be responsible for taking out the recycling.  Others say that the custodians are too understaffed and busy to have to worry about making sure the materials in the recycle bins are actually recyclable.

Science teacher Matt Stricklen, who sponsors the Green Teens club, said the group plans to introduce a new recycling program starting next school year.

“Our Green Teens came up with the idea for a pilot program in which Green Tech (Academy) would kind of take the lead on that and we would have stations posted in the hallway that have landfill trash, compost, and recycling available,” Stricklen said.

The project would start in the cafeteria using the three bins: recycling, compost, and landfill. Stricklen said they hope that by starting in the cafeteria they can introduce students and staff to the system gradually. After a few months the Green Teens hope to expand the new bins into the hallways of the school.

The Green Teens hope this initiative will help Akins contribute to the city’s goal of being considered a “Zero Waste” city by the year 2040. In 2010, the Austin school board passed a resolution in support of this goal, and in 2011 it passed an environmental sustainability policy to help make this become a reality.

Which mainly revolves around education of waste management and implementing new policies and regulations to the public.

English teacher Jamie Livenick, who is a first-year teacher at Akins, said she was surprised when she found out that recycling wasn’t happening on a regular basis. However, she said she has an optimistic look on this issue.

“I think we have a lot of potential. There is a lot to be recycled so I think we should do it,” Livenick said.

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About the Writer
Eli Gutierrez, Staff Writer
Name: Eli Gutierrez Grade: 10th Academy: New Tech Year on Staff: 1st Title: staff writer Why they are on staff? I write a lot so yeah What do you do for fun? I make music What movie do you recommend that everyone watch? Coraline Plans for after high school? Touring Twitter handle (optional): I don’t...
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