Lunch is chaotic – a 45-minute time frame that goes by in a flash. Once those minutes are up, hundreds of students in the cafeteria congregate at the trash trolleys, where they are expected to sort each item properly. In the chaos that inevitably ensues, I’ve personally encountered dozens of students rushing to throw away their trash, and instead of sorting it into the proper bins, they just toss everything into one slot.
Each section on the trolley has a clear label as to what is acceptable to put in that bin. However, the order is where we go wrong.
“Every time I’ve gone up to a trolley, I’ve felt discouraged,” senior Mckayla Cothern said. “I think that since people always have general garbage and food scraps together, those two bins should be placed side by side and nearest to the styrofoam tray cart. Even though it’s simply swapping signs around, I feel like it would increase efficiency and usage of the trolleys when it comes to waste disposal in the cafeteria.”
Additionally, there is no place to discard the styrofoam bowls we use for froyo, which can be recycled as well.
I propose we use one of the plate and tray sections on our trolleys for the froyo bowls. That way those styrofoam bowls can stay out of our landfills as well.
Lastly, in an effort to speed up clean up time after lunch, our custodial staff comes around tables with normal trash bins where students end up throwing away all their trash in the regular plastic bins instead of sorting it all into the trolleys. Unfortunately, the lack of effort many of our peers put into cleaning up after themselves ends up generating so much left over waste for the custodians to clean up, which then forces the custodians to get a running start before lunch is over. If every student would take care of their own trash and sort it properly, the amount of waste going into the landfill would be decreased even more.
If we all educate ourselves on how to properly use the sorters, we can continue to make an increasingly large impact on how much waste goes into landfills from our school alone. So, I beg of you, put your garbage where it goes so we can continue to make Earth a little bit greener.
Written by Bailey Lewallen
photo by Karis Bradshaw