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OPINION: BHS should recycle plastic

By Aubrey Rupp

At Batavia High School there is no shortage of plastic products. Whether it be a lemonade bottle from the cafeteria or plastic spoons and forks, there is no denying that Batavia uses a lot of it. Although there are recycling bins everywhere, BHSl chooses to recycle only the paper products that are inside of it. This leaves our school with a large amount of plastic waste that is just being thrown out into the trash. This isn’t right, so BHS should recycle plastic instead of just dumping all of the waste in the trash.

According to the American Federation of Teachers, it is estimated that the average person in a school makes 4.7 pounds of waste daily, making schools and other education facilities one of the largest waste generators. According to the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality, the average middle school lunchroom produces 30,000 pounds of plastic waste per year. If that is how much is being produced in a middle school how much is being produced at BHS? With 1,914 students, the pounds of plastic must be through the roof. What exactly are we doing about it?

After interviewing David Andrews, our school principal of operations and sports, he immediately dismissed the rumors about Batavia High School not recycling at all.

“We do recycle,” Andrews said. “If you look at the back of the school there are two receptacles.” 

After making this statement  Andrews did say that the school doesn’t recycle plastic or aluminum. The Environmental Protection Agency 35,370 tons of plastic are generated yearly but only 2,960 tons are actually recycled after being used. BHS is part of the endless growth of plastic without it being properly and responsibly thrown out. 

Both Dr. JoAnne Smith and Andrews agreed that students also need to get involved with recycling just as much as staff. A study done by the University of Iowa shows that 55.41 percent of college students recycle whenever possible, 38.54 percent of college students recycle when it’s convenient, and only 6.05 percent of people said that they don’t recycle at all. This study shows that by giving students that option to recycle the vast majority will actually use it. 


At BHS it’s undeniable that there is no shortage of plastic product usage. By not recycling plastic, the school adds to the growing plastic problem that has taken over our world. Schools are some of the largest producers in waste and BHSneeds to do more to fix that. With the rumors being stomped on against not recycling at all, there is still an improvement when it comes to how much the school needs to recycle.

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