fridayApril 22, is 2022 Earth Day, a time when we focus on things we can do to improve our environment and reduce pollution.
West Valley High School is among the many schools working to reduce its footprint by putting an emphasis on recycling. From student clubs to schoolwide programs, here are some things that WVHS is doing to recycle:
For the past several years, the Ecology Club at WVHS has worked hard to compost leftover food items from students’ lunches. During lunches, a team of staff and students goes around the lunchroom collecting leftover fruits and vegetables from students. They then dump the food into the compost bin outside the school, stirring it every couple of weeks. After the compost has broken down into soil, the Ecology Club sells it as topsoil to local gardeners, or donates it. This effort had been going strong before the coronavirus pandemic, which put a halt to the work. With the 2021-22 school year, the group has begun to resume the composting.
Pre-pandemic, the club had also started planting native vegetation in the school’s courtyard with informational plaques about every plant. However, the group had to put a hold on that project due to COVID-19.
The club also volunteered in the past at Cowich Canyon to remove graffiti from trails and teach others about them.
Looking to the future, the WVHS Ecology Club plans to set up recycling bins in the hallways for recyclables like bottles and cans. Before they can do that, they want to educate students on what can be recycled and what cannot be recycled.
The WVHS Key Club has also played its part in helping the school recycle. Pre-pandemic, the club recycled old reading and prescription glasses, as well as old cellphones. The club has contributed the money raised from some of its fundraisers to the Special Education department at WVHS.
Throughout the past several years, the Key Club and its parent club, Kiwanis, have also recycled newspapers. Recently, the Key Club started a recycling project in which its members are recycling old reading or prescription glasses as well as used batteries. The glasses are collected and processed by Kiwanis and given to people in need around the world.
In the last 20 years, Kiwanis International has donated more than 570,000 glasses. Kiwanis has also partnered with Bic and Crayola to recycle materials such as used pens, Expo markers, mechanical pencils, highlighters and glue sticks.
The Distributive Education Clubs of America group at WVHS has also contributed to helping the school recycle. In the past, DECA has recycled biodegradable ink cartridges. The Father-Daughter Dance at WVHS is a time when the club also reuses materials, such as reusing cardboard for things like games.
The school’s marketing class runs the student store at WVHS and has started to use strawless lids. Straws are now only provided for smoothies. Students in the class are currently working on being able to use recyclable cups and reusable straws.
As a school, WVHS has recently started using reusable lunch trays, which have been replacing Styrofoam trays this school year. Principal Ben McMurry says he is excited about the progress of the recent conversion, and he hopes to educate all of the students so that everyone can participate in acts of helping the environment.
Maham Khan is a freshman at West Valley High School.