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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Scripps Ranch High School, San Diego, California, USA

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Scripps Ranch High School, San Diego, California, USA
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Registered: December 2008
City/Town/Province: San Diego
Posts: 1
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Lunchtime at Scripps Ranch High School is preceded by a near-spotless campus, cleaned by a single custodian who does the job of three men just to keep his salary from being swallowed by widespread budget cuts. Within the next hectic half-hour, the quad is littered with trash, food, and bottles. A clean-up crew involving much of the administration, including Principal Madden, work throughout lunch looking after those who are too lazy to put trash in a can. Eventually, the campus is returned to its original condition with a seemingly flawless job done by the work of many. But among the overflowing trash cans lies a major problem: a lack of recycle bins.

Dozens of bottles and cans found their way into a trash can every day since I had first stepped foot on the campus. A few teachers had taken initiative and started their own classroom recycling systems, but it was on such a small scale that it hardly helped the campusí problem as a whole. Even more shockingly, if a student recycles anything in the blue recycle bins in a classroom it goes to the same dump as the black trash bins. Custodians are not paid to recycle and because they are paid by activity (sweeping, dusting, etc.) rather than by time, any recycling they do would be on their own time. Certainly they would love to assist, but separating the recycling from every classroom in the school would be approximately an hour each day of unpaid work, something which we cannot expect or ask them to do. The convenient solution would be to pay custodians to recycle, but budget cuts make this nearly impossible. In lieu of this, I decided to start my own campus recycling program.

As president of the Be Green Club and a member of the San Diego Association of Eco Clubs (SDAEC), I gained access to unusable curbside bins that would have been thrown away. SDAEC assisted me in getting three bins and I arranged a date to repair and paint them with Be Green. We fixed broken hinges, scrubbed off caked dirt, and dove completely into the used bins to clean them out. After hours of dirty work, we had a grand time painting them. Three inexperienced students with paint brushes and rollers began immersing the now-clean bins in blue paint, donated by our schoolís Associated Student Body. A few hours later and the world saw its worst paint job ever; but the idea was clear and we stood proud. A couple days later, I wheeled the three bright blue bins into the boring brick structure of our school and they stood out prominently. I organized a team to recycle the bins weekly and the first student-run all-purpose recycling drive began.

With these bins, the team that picks up trash during lunch can recycle too, if the students are unwilling, and the environmentally-conscious students can help. Itís win-win all around. The names of the artists are embarrassingly displayed on the not-so-fine piece of not-so-artistic bins, yet we are extraordinarily proud of the accomplishment behind the aesthetics: not only did we promote recycling, but we did so by recycling unusable bins. Itís an eco-friendly project in every way possible.

Of course, itís not enough to stop here. I have already asked for more bins to repair and weíll be getting out our painting attire soon. But one campus wonít do much in the long run; we need to spread the word about this project and give other schools, offices, parks, and wherever else the opportunity to recycle. With the help of Apprentice Ecologist Initiativeô, we can assist others with a similar project. It can be done in four easy steps:
1. Contact your local waste management and ask for broken, old, and unusable bins
2. Repair, clean, and paint the bins
3. Place the bins anywhere that needs recycling
4. Recycle their contents when they fill up

Anybody can recycle, and many can take steps to help others recycle, but in the long run, no single person can make a difference. What can is a collaborative effort by motivated individuals throughout the world, each taking steps to further the quality of the world.

This is my step. Your turn.
Date: December 26, 2008 ∑ Views: 4030 ∑ File size: 32.1kb, 233.8kb: 1500 x 1125 ∑
Hours Volunteered: 97
Volunteers: 17
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 15 to 17
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 7
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): 10
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