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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - West Hills High School, Santee, California, USA

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West Hills High School, Santee, California, USA
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Registered: November 2008
City/Town/Province: Santee
Posts: 1
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Our landfills are overflowing with garbage a lot of which should not even be there. They are releasing what most people call “landfill gas” or methane, a greenhouse gas emission that is ten times more potent then carbon dioxide. Our economy is in shambles, unemployment is going up, oil prices are going up and we can’t afford to make new landfills. And to top it all off the climate is changing on a global scale.

That’s a lot to deal with for a kid. It seems like it’s going to take a lot of work to fix all of these problems and kids don’t even like doing my homework. They believe it’s easier to let other people deal with it. They could not be more wrong, it’s everyone’s problem and we all can take a small step to solving these problems just by recycling.

According to the U.S. EPA when 10,000 tons is recycled 36 jobs are created, if it were just sent to a landfill only 6 jobs would be created. When bottles, cans, paper, cardboard, food scraps, electronics, copper wire and the list goes on and on are kept out of the landfill it leaves more room for actual trash and creates less methane which in turn slows Global Climate Change.

Knowing all of this for the Nicodemus Wilderness Project I started a Recycling Club at my school (West Hills High School in Santee, CA). We recycle, by digging through the schools trash, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It has a constant group membership of about ten students, sometimes more, sometimes less, people come and people go. Already we have recycled well over 4000 pounds of waste and raised well over $2500. We mostly recycle aluminum cans, plastic and glass bottles, but we are currently working to put into action a paper recycle program. This will bring in more volunteers that do not wish to put on some gloves and dig through the schools trashcans in search of recyclables.

Our club has worked with the teacher by putting recycle bins for bottles and cans (and soon paper recycling boxes) in as many rooms as we can. We also work with the student body by raising awareness and placing bins outdoors for their convenience. And, we are currently in the requirement process to get new members to join, be aware and help with the cause.

Not only has the WHHS Recycling Club collected recyclables at our school but we have rooted ourselves into our community. We place our outdoor recycling bins at the little league fields adjacent to the high school when they have games. And we went to a middle school’s Halloween Carnival with the recycle bins too. We plan on going back to the middle school to talk with the students about recycling so that they can join the Recycling Club next year as freshmen.

A local business owned by a member’s uncle donated a 40 foot shipping crate for us to use as a storage facility. Steaz, a company that makes organic, fair trade, sparkling, green tea soda, donated $100 to buy the recycle bins that we put outside on campus. Sycamore Landfill, Inc., the company that owns the recycling facility where we bring our cans and bottles, pays us extra money then we would normally get per pound of recycling we bring in because we are from the school. We are also in the process of working with another local recycling company, One Earth Recycle, to branch out of the campus and further into the community. The plan is to open a Recycling Kiosk, with a “coffee shop” environment, in the parking lot of a crowded shopping center, making recycling as easy as shopping.

Recycling alone will not stop Global Climate Change, it won’t keep our landfills from filling up and it won’t end unemployment. However it is a step in the right direction. Once people realize how easy recycling is they will take the next step towards environmental stewardship whether it is changing light bulbs to LEDs, biking to work or growing their own organic food. Everything helps as long as we remember that there is always more to be done.
· Date: November 29, 2008 · Views: 3743 · File size: 65.6kb, 281.2kb · : 1500 x 1125 ·
Hours Volunteered: 1500
Volunteers: 10
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 14 to 18
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 25
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): 8889
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