The Dire Need for Recycling

Out of control wildfires, tornadoes, melting polar ice caps, rising sea levels, heat domes, powerful hurricanes, mudslides, and flooding in New York – these extreme weather occurrences are unfortunately becoming all too frequent and a new normal.

It is becoming hard to ignore the scientific data which points to the fact that our extreme weather is being caused by global warming. One of the largest contributing factors to global warming is trash pollution… So why is Lamar High School not recycling?

Global warming is the process of our planet’s temperature increasing. It is caused by carbon dioxide and other pollutants collecting in the atmosphere and absorbing solar radiation that has bounced off the earth’s surface. Because these pollutants are trapped in the atmosphere (and can last for centuries without escaping into space), our planet gets hotter, and we experience “the greenhouse effect”.

If we continue to take our planet for granted, the damage will be irreversible and there will be nothing left to save.

As much as we might like to deny it, unless we change as a society, our global warming problem will never cease to exist. However, there are things as individuals and as a Lamar community that we can do to do our part in saving the planet thereby reducing our carbon footprint and that is recycling.

Recycling, the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products, is the best start for our community. Recycling not only keeps harmful trash out of the oceans, but it also keeps our school clean.

 Lamar has not yet enforced a recycling policy.

Angela Yokley, a former Lamar Student, created the environmental club in her sophomore year. Yokley had initial interest in starting the club due to “environmental issues” at Lamar.

Yokley was focused on the students that wanted to recycle, which is a large majority of the students, and did not want to see their efforts go to waste.

“The biggest problem for me was the improper training on behalf of the custodial staff, teachers and even administrators,” she said.

Because the custodial staff were not correctly trained to dispose of recycling and regular trash, recycling efforts were unsuccessful. It is important to note that the recycling composts were never picked up either.

 “The issues were caused less by students not recycling properly and more by a lack of effort on the administration side in taking a proactive step to make that connection with the faculty,” Yokley said.

With the ambition of the students, and the help of administration, we can make recycling a reality and avoid having “everything in the recycling bin going to the regular trash,” as Yokley said.

Current environmental club president, Anastasia Ochoa, recalls fighting for recycling all throughout her freshman year and took the issue to almost anyone she could.

“HISD offers a free recycling option for all schools in the district,” Ochoa said, meaning that our lack of recycling is not due to a lack of funds.

However, Ochoa remains hopeful and confident that Lamar will be implementing a recycling program and the club has many plans in place to make Lamar a green school.

“I would love for more students to be active and passionate about their planet and get as involved as they can,” said Ochoa.

Recycling would be the best way for our school to reduce its carbon footprint and it would also take the burden off our custodial staff who are left with the responsibility of cleaning up everyone’s trash, especially after lunch.

Positioning recycling bins around the school would make our school a cleaner, and more active community in the fight against climate change.

There is no reason for us not to implement a recycling policy at school and this is a call to timely action as it is something many students are passionate about as is it something that must be done before it is too late.