Our Position: LT needs to make more of an effort to create an environmentally conscious and sustainable school.
It is common knowledge that the Earth isn’t doing too great. She’s being suffocated by carbon, drowned in plastics, and stripped of her beautiful resources. In recent years, environmental problems have been driven to the forefront of politics and our own minds. People are trying harder than ever to be more environmentally friendly. LT needs to follow this trend and create a more environmentally conscious and sustainable school.
While LT does offer recycling in almost every room in each building–something that cannot be said of every school–it is common for the bins to be contaminated with non-recyclable waste. Tissues, food waste and unwashed beverages are found in the bins on a semi-regular basis, recycling club advisor Tom Swiontek said. The club even found a piece of metal from a broken desk in a bin.
LT students and staff cannot continue throwing things into the recycling bins just hoping it’s recyclable. Waste Management, the company that processes LT’s recycling, found large amounts of trash mixed into the recycling, which had to be later sorted out at the facility. They threatened a $120 fee to pick up the recycling bin if the problem did not improve, Swiontek said. Such a large fee could threaten the recycling program at LT.
Recycling should not be difficult. The contamination could be easily improved if staff and students took the time to learn what can go in the bins and what can’t. Posters near bins and announcements by staff could aid in this process. If people are unsure if they can recycle an item, they should opt to throw it in the trash rather than risk contaminating the recycling.
Other schools in the area, such as Hinsdale South, use the recycling company TerraCycle which allows a wider range of objects–from batteries to printer cartridges to chip bags–to be recycled, Swiontek said. If LT were to begin using this company, it would decrease contamination and waste.
Aside from LT’s recycling program, there is more potential for growth regarding environmental efforts. The administration should look into turning off more lights when the area is not in use in order to save energy, Swiontek suggested. As a long term goal, the school should consider incorporating solar panels on the roofs. While it would be a much more intensive project, it has been done by other Chicagoland public high schools, such as Lincoln-Way Central High School and Huntley Community High School, and would save the school money in energy costs.
As other schools move to be more environmentally conscious, LT should too. Implementing and improving different environmental efforts would prove that LT is a school that not only cares about the environment but one that cares enough to actually do something about it.