Putting a rumor to rest: MHS recycles

Hannah Stanley, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

A misconception among the staff and students is that MHS does not recycle and only appears to recycle by having bins in the classrooms.

Some students have speculated that the recycling from the bins are just thrown into the same dumpsters as the garbage, and so such speculations have encouraged students not to recycle. Some students even go so far as to put non-recyclable items in the red recycling bins placed within most classrooms, treating them like garbage cans.

In a small Jan. 25 survey of 14 students administered through the Red Rage Facebook group chat, respondents shared their perceptions about recycling at the school.

“Some classrooms don’t have recycling bins. I’ve often seen students throwing away things that should’ve been recycled as well,” said senior Brooke Testin, who was one of the six of the 14 who also marked “no” to the survey question, “Does MHS recycle– yes or no?”

But MHS does recycle, according to Head of Maintenance Kevin Quinn.

The ‘Think Green’ extracurricular club works alongside the MHS maintenance staff, assisting with collecting and sorting through the recycling that is produced from students and faculty in the classrooms and offices. This recycling is then taken to the dock for later pickup.

While Quinn and the “Think Green’ Club Sponsor Gabriela Cervantes acknowledged not all classrooms have recycling bins, there are human-sized Coca-Cola bottles placed around the Commons and Cafeteria, which are recycling bins for bottles and cans.

Beyond recycling, this club and the maintenance staff take other measures to help MHS be environmentally friendly.

For example, ‘Think Green’ reaches even further beyond the school to aid the Mundelein community by participating in an event called “Amazing Mundelein.”

“We go to our community’s houses, senior citizens, and we help them clean up their houses, their yards, and with their recycling,” Cervantes said.

Reaching out in a larger aspect, then, is meant not just to benefit the high school, but to better the environment in which all of Mundelein lives.

As Quinn said, the state of the environment is in our generations’ hands, and it is what this generation makes of it that will determine the future.

“Collectively, we’re [the general population] aware. It rests with us all,” Quinn said speaking in relation to the state of the current environment.

The large amount of waste produced by an individual daily reaches about 4.5 pounds and are filling landfills, and it is the small steps that can be taken that will lessen such a number, according to Quinn and verified by the Environmental Protection Agency website.

Something Quinn and the maintenance staff do is what they call ‘repurposing,’ which can be seen as similar to the ‘reuse’ aspect of ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.’ The staff will take no longer useful objects for their intended purpose and give them a new purpose as a way to eliminate the amount of waste produced by the school.

“What would have gone to a landfill or gone to a recycler for wood, we’ve saved that and brought that back in. We reuse that for cubbies for Orchesis or Show Choir for their shoes,” said Quinn, speaking specifically about old Chromebook carts in his example.

During a tour of the school for this article, Quinn also pointed out the numerous locations around MHS where recycling is collected and separated and where materials are compacted, later taken by a separate disposal company, which was rumored to be the same waste disposal company.

The rumor that MHS does not recycle can now be put to rest. It does, and even takes other environmentally friendly steps.

As a result, both Quinn and Cervantes ask students to challenge themselves in relation to their own waste disposal and recycling habits, encouraging students to help in the process by using the recycling bins for materials that can be recycled.

Quinn said, “If you see something [environmentally wrong] that you don’t believe to be right, address it.”