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It’s Easy To Be Green At South

By Radhika Viswanathan

Recycling properly - Bottle caps should be placed in this bin located in the main hall.  Photo by Radhika Viswanathan
Recycling properly – Bottle caps should be placed in this bin located in the main hall.
Photo by Radhika Viswanathan

Everyone tries to be green. But sometimes, it may be confusing to decide where to put your empty coffee cup. In order to recycle efficiently, it is important to know the facts about how South recycles.

Most of what South recycles is picked up from our school by trucks from Progressive Waste of Long Island. The head of the custodial staff, Mr. Alan Ratner, explained, “The recycled plastics and cardboard is taken to the Town of North Hempstead recycling facility, where the waste is sold to make new bottles.”

The Environmental Club has taken steps to improve recycling at South. “We’ve worked a lot with the Town of North Hempstead to bring the recycle bins back to South, which is a big step,” said Ms. Abby-Jo Brighton, science teacher and co-advisor of the Environmental Club. The club has also worked with the Aveda Corporation to have a bin specifically for bottle caps.

People have also been hearing rumors that many recyclables don’t actually get recycled. However, this only happens when food or other non-recyclables contaminate the recyclables. “Only clean, unsoiled bottles and paper can be recycled. We can’t expect the custodians to separate the recyclables from the non-recyclables, so it is our responsibility to make sure we recycle properly,” said senior Elizabeth Chi, co-president of the Environmental Club.

In order to keep recyclables at South clean, students should be a little more cautious. “Before recycling, you should rinse it before you throw it out. In addition, when people leave food in their containers, it attracts ants,” Mr. Ratner said.

Mr. Patrick Graham, English teacher and co-advisor of the Environmental Club, said, “If students, teachers, and staff separate their garbage, then what can be recycled will be recycled.”

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