CAN Bronx Science Recycle?

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Katherine Doss

This blue recycling bin is just one component of the brand new new recycling system.

For the first time ever, Bronx Science has introduced a new recycling system in the cafeteria that separates liquid, recyclable, and non-recyclable waste into three different containers.

The Bronx Science administration, faculty, and students have made many attempts to improve the school’s impact upon the environment over the years, demonstrated by the numerous trash and recycling cans present in hallways and classrooms throughout the building. Now, the school hopes that this new waste disposal system will encourage students to be kinder to the environment and learn how to properly discard their waste.

Prior to this year, all waste was thrown in the same bin with no distinction between trash and recycling.

Mr. Connolly, Bronx Science’s Building Engineer, who is in charge of bringing these reforms to the school, said the new system was, “a long time coming. It’s the wave of the future.” Other schools throughout New York City have implemented this system in the past couple of years. Mr. Connolly expressed hope that Bronx Science students will adhere to the new system, stating that, “most of the grammar schools and junior highs are doing it with great success.” He believes that if students make it a habit to separate their trash, everyone will benefit in the end.

“I think that the recycling system is a good idea; it’s good for the environment, and it is being implemented well,” said Nirushka Waduge ’20, reflecting the views of many students who believe that improved waste management is key to a good educational environment.

Other schools throughout New York City have implemented this system in the past couple of years. Mr. Connolly expressed hope that Bronx Science students will adhere to the new system, saying “most of the grammar schools and junior highs are doing it with great success.”

Some students also see the new recycling system as a reminder to be more benevolent to the environment. “I believe this type of progression truly does make a difference in preserving our environment and in making people more aware of their careless actions,” said Beatrice Arana ’19.

However, many students also believe that more can be done to improve the environmental awareness of the school and to support the implementation of more trash and recycling bins inside the school. Jonathan Rodriguez ’18, one of the co-presidents of LEAP club, which advocates for the protection of animals and the environment, asserts that the school should include “a variety of trash cans, recycling bins, and paper waste bins in each classroom.” He believes this change is necessary because, “although some classrooms have one of the listed bins, most do not have all three, making it difficult for some students to recycle. Many students throw their waste out in the paper bin instead of the regular trash can, for instance.”

Other students have even proposed implementing food waste containers similar to the ones introduced to New York City households by the Department of Sanitation earlier this year. Beatrice Arana furthered this idea by stating, “Since school lunches are often not completely finished, the excess food just goes to waste with the regular trash.”

Mr. Connolly has confirmed that this will be the next step in the recycling initiative. “There’s going to be another station added in the future, a little brown container where food scraps will go.” The time frame in which this new disposal bin will be implemented is still unknown, but Mr. Connolly is very pleased that the school will soon take on this new recycling initiative.

Currently, the Department of Education is working with the Department of Sanitation in order to introduce this new idea into more schools throughout New York City, but very few schools have implemented it as of now.

Though the system is a major step forward in reducing the harm that the school’s waste exerts on the environment, simply setting up the new bins will likely not provoke any significant change. “It is not respected by some students, and they tend to not care where they throw their trash when it comes to the last couple of minutes of lunch and they are rushing out to class,” said Nirushka Waduge. Jonathan Rodriguez advocates for increasing student awareness of the new system, stating that, “A simple e-mail notifying students that there are three types of waste bins instead of one might make a difference; or a step can even be taken further by encouraging teachers or cafeteria staff to announce it in their classrooms and in the cafeteria.”

The true efficiency of this new recycling system will be determined in the coming months. As the vast majority of Bronx Science students support the idea of being friendly to the environment, it seems likely that the initiative will be greatly successful.

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