Hi’s Eye investigates recycling at WHS


Photo Viggo Jabon

Student throws away recyclables.

There are many rumors about whether or not WHS recycles. According to the voices of many in the WHS student body, WHS does not recycle despite the recycling bins in every classroom of the school. Hi’s Eye decided to investigate this and address these rumors.

The recycling company that WHS uses, Giordano Disposal, claims that they will not sort through students’ trash, according to Environmental Science Teacher Judith McLoughlin. This means that if anything is put into recycling bins that should not be there, the custodians are unable to recycle any- thing in that entire bin since they, as well as the recycling company, do not sort through students’ trash. When we see custodians putting recyclable materials in the trash, it’s because students did not effectively recycle.

To address this problem, WHS put up signs around garbage and recycling bins in the school to teach students what goes where.

According to Head Custodian Werner Wolf, de- spite the many rumors, WHS does, in fact, recycle when they can. “That’s why there are recycling bins in most or all of the classrooms and spread out throughout the hallways and cafeterias,” said Wolf. “We have a large recycling dumpster for cardboard, paper, plastic/glass bottles and cans.”

The rumors may also exist because of recycling companies that have been hired in the past. McLoughlin said that the previous company WHS hired often did not pick up the recycling and they were combining recycling and trash. McLoughlin said, “[The process] was not as effective as it should be.”

Despite the hiring of a new company, McLoughlin continued to notice the same problem, but this time, with the students not recycling. “I have student center duty and I will see kids that just really pay no attention [to what they put in the bins],” she said.

It’s not just the high school that has to be conscientious of what goes into the recycling and trash bins, as Councilman David Contract stated that the town follows the same recycling policy. The town council also tries to make sure the residents are aware of what can and cannot be recycled and that it is up to the residents to follow proper recycling etiquette.

Recyclable materials, as per the town guide- lines, include plastics that are numbered one and two, cardboard, aluminum cans and glass bottles. These materials are picked up at the curbside every other week and are the same materials that can go in our recycling bins at WHS.

Both WHS and the town are bene ting from lo- cal organizations like the Green Team, which help to educate students and the public. “The Green Team seeks to solve environmental problems in the space of the school and change attitudes about sustainability amongst the student body,” said senior David Sherwood, president of the WHS Green team.

The Town Green Team, a committee authorized by the town government and composed of 20 volunteers, uses a similar ideology to educate the town on being environmentally friendly. According to Contract, the Town Green Team has launched programs such as Westfield’s Earth Month, they have created recycling programs in town for residents and recycling videos for residents to become better informed.

So with all of this information constantly around us, why do students still not know how to recycle? According to McLoughlin, the students are just not educated about recycling and living an environmentally friendly life. McLoughlin said. “It’s up to the students themselves to understand [what can be recycled].”