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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Omaha, Nebraska

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Omaha, Nebraska

dhwani



Registered: December 2010
City/Town/Province: Omaha
Posts: 1
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“Drink it, then sink it!” (slogan of Recycling: Nutrition Explorations program)


As officer of the National Honor Society at Omaha North High School, I have started a program to recycle milk bottles with a few members. Our school recently built a new engineering wing called the “Haddix Center,” which is largely based on recycling. At each level of the new building is a large container that includes three separate bins for recycling metals/soda cans, glass, and plastics. Also, each classroom has its own recycling box in which paper and cardboard can be recycled. To take this a step farther, my team and I decided to implement this project to raise the awareness of the importance of recycling among our classmates.
At each lunch hour every day, a National Honor Society member takes the recycling bins around to the lunch tables and asks the students to drink their milk and toss the empty bottle in the bin. At the end of the lunch hour, the NHS member takes out the bag of bottles and puts it in the recycling dumpster outside. The reason we did this with milk bottles rather than anything else is because BBC Health’s studies have shown that 25% of teenagers have calcium deficiencies. By taking the recycling container directly to the students, I personally hope that students drink the milk rather than throw it away.
What I accomplished through this project is far greater than I expected. At first I thought that it would be a challenge to implement this project successfully because once milk is left out for 24 hours, it starts to rot and smell bad. If someone was not taking out the bottles once a day, then the school would have a problem with the city’s health regulations. Honestly, a health inspection did reveal that milk was indeed rotting in the bins because the volunteers were not taking it out at least once a day and the school got a warning. Interestingly, the NHS team actually volunteered more to prevent this from happening again. We believe that a misunderstanding in a schedule that we keep caused this. Our school has two cafeterias so NHS members were getting confused on which cafeteria needs the volunteers.
Other than the fact that recycling helps conserve resources and provides a cleaner environment, we learned that it also saves our school money on disposal costs. Schools pay for trash disposal by cubic yard and by recycling the bottles, it reduces the trash volume by 9-20%. According to the National Dairy Council, recycling a ton of plastic bottles saves about 3.8 barrels of oil. My team’s accomplishments go farther than helping our classmates drink milk and cut down on trash that crowds landfills; we also help the environment indirectly by reducing greenhouse emissions (due to the material of the milk bottles) and by reducing the amount of trash in the landfills.
I believe that it is important to have a recycling program in the school because it teaches students social responsibility. People often question how big of a difference one person can make. The truth is that one person cannot make a big difference, but that one person has to realize that there are many more people like them and together, they make a huge difference. Although not many effects have been seen due to recycling, I believe that a large scale one is about to emerge. If scientists have found that corn is an alternate to petroleum, then recycling must have a profound influence!
This project has enriched my life by influencing me to recycle more, as cliché as that sounds. I recycle more in my everyday life and try to have others do the same. We have gotten a large recycle bin in our family and we fill it up along with several bags each week. In the future, I want to advance my efforts. Because I will be a freshman in college next year, I want to start this project at my university too. It does not necessary have to be milk bottles, considering glasses are used. Instead, I would like to start recycling paper, newspapers, glass, cardboard, etc. Also, I would like to implement the idea of using leftover or unusable/rotten vegetables as natural fertilizer for making the campus gardens healthier.
In my point of view, recycling should be a major part in every individual’s life, but not everyone will like it to be. My team and I try to influence the viewpoints of our classmates by taking small initiatives such as recycling milk bottles and setting up recycle bins throughout the school. By doing what we do, we make a positive impact on the community and environment.



Sources:
"Nicodemus Wilderness Project -- Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists." Nicodemus Wilderness Project -- Protecting Our Planet. Web. 22 Dec. 2010.
"Recycling: Nutrition Explorations." Nutrition Explorations: Kids' Nutrition at Its Best. Web. 22 Dec. 2010.
Date: December 25, 2010 Views: 4485 File size: 37.6kb : 350 x 263
Hours Volunteered: 18
Volunteers: 7
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 16 to 18
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