The Missing Blue Bins
People have learned to automatically recognize and associate a blue bin with recycling. Yet, any Columbus High School student can confirm that there seems to be an absence of blue bins in our school.
Ironically, there is not an absence of plastic at CHS.
Public schools like Columbus High School are large plastic consumers. A school year consists of 180 days, and CHS supports a body of around 1200 students. Students throw away plastic trays, bottles, and utensils daily. These numbers are large, and must be addressed.
The problem is that Columbus High lacks a hauler to pick up the recyclable materials from the school.
The last time Columbus High had an active recycling program in place was 2017, according to Magnet Program Director, Ms. Hood.
“The city stopped picking up our recycled items from then on,” Ms. Hood explained.
A trail of events led to this outcome. The city of Columbus use to provide recycling services to all schools. The city used a recycling system by the name of sorted stream.
Sorted stream is when a facility is responsible for sorting their own recyclable materials into specific categories like glass, metal, and plastic. Then, recycling management would send a recycling truck to pick up these items from the specific areas.
Columbus High School students often did not know how to properly sort and recycle items. Students would put non-recyclable plastics in the recycle bins and fail to wash out their drink bottles.
Because Columbus High did not properly sort their materials, the city stopped picking up the high school’s recycling.
Yet, there is another opportunity: the recycling system called single stream.
Single stream recycling is quite the opposite of sorted stream. The single stream system takes all recyclable materials in one “stream,” and does not require facilities, such as schools, to tediously sort their items.
According to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, “Communities around the country are continuously evaluating and changing their recycling collection programs to implement new technologies, including single stream.”
The single stream process is currently being implemented in Columbus, Georgia.
Now that the recycling methods have changed, single stream is the future. Columbus High could continue the recycling process by starting a new program revolving around single stream.