FridayApril 22, is Earth Day 2022, a time when we focus on what we can do to improve our environment and reduce pollution.
West Valley High School is one of many schools working to reduce their footprint by emphasizing recycling. From student clubs to school-wide programs, here are some things WVHS does to recycle:
For the past few years, the WVHS Environmental Club has worked hard to compost leftover food from student lunches. During lunches, a team of staff and students goes around the dining hall picking up leftover fruits and vegetables from students. They then throw the food into the compost bin outside the school, turning it over every two weeks. Once the compost has broken down into soil, the eco-club sells it as topsoil to local gardeners or donates it. This effort had been sustained before the coronavirus pandemic, which put an end to the work. With the start of the 2021-22 school year, the group began to resume composting.
Before the pandemic, the club had also started planting native vegetation in the schoolyard with information plaques about each plant. However, the band had to put this project on hold due to COVID-19.
The club has also volunteered in the past at Cowiche Canyon to remove graffiti from trails and let others know.
Looking to the future, the WVHS Ecology Club plans to install recycling bins in hallways for recyclables like bottles and cans. Before they can do that, they want to educate students about what can be recycled and what can’t.
The WVHS Key Club has also played its part in helping the school recycle. Before the pandemic, the club recycled old reading and prescription glasses, as well as old cell phones. The club donated the money raised through some of its fundraisers to the WVHS Special Education Department.
In recent years, the Key Club and its parent club, Kiwanis, have also recycled newspapers. Recently, the Key Club launched a recycling project in which its members recycle old reading or prescription glasses as well as used batteries. The glasses are collected and processed by Kiwanis and donated to people in need around the world.
Over the past 20 years, Kiwanis International has donated more than 570,000 glasses. Kiwanis has also partnered with Bic and Crayola to recycle materials such as used pens, Expo markers, mechanical pencils, highlighters and glue sticks.
WVHS’ Distributive Education Clubs of America group has also been instrumental in helping the school recycle. In the past, DECA has recycled biodegradable ink cartridges. The father-daughter dance at WVHS is a time when the club also reuses materials, like reusing cardboard for things like games.
The school’s marketing class runs the WVHS student store and has started using strawless lids. Straws are now only provided for smoothies. Students in the class are currently working on being able to use recyclable cups and reusable straws.
As a school, WVHS recently began using reusable lunch trays, which replaced polystyrene trays this school year. Principal Ben McMurry says he is excited about the progress of the recent conversion and hopes to educate all students so that everyone can participate in acts of helping the environment.
Maham Khan is a freshman at West Valley High School.