Recycling policies remain unclear

Our campus is filled with blue recycling bins in nearly every classroom; however, there is no guarantee the waste in these bins will be recycled.

James Wei, head of maintenance, explains that if items are marked in a recycling container, his staff has been instructed to not touch it. “With the creation of the Recycling Club, the recycling on campus has been left to the student body,” Wei said.

Hyunsoo Kim, president of Recycling Club, recycles every other week after school on Wednesdays with his club, going around campus collecting bottles and cans from the recycling bins. “If we find any trash in the (recycling) bins, we throw it away so it doesn’t get mixed with the recycled products,” Kim said. The club directly takes the recyclable materials to the Albertson’s recycling center.

However, even with this club on campus, Wei explains how he and his team are “forced to pick up and take care of some of the neglected containers,” kids leave on campus. If the maintenance staff did not pick up this trash, the containers would begin to ferment and attract pests. However, if recycled trash is mixed in regular trash, Wei is not able to guarantee that his staff will have time to sift through the trash and separate the materials.

“We spend about 12-15 man hours a day picking up trash off the ground right next to trash cans, and pick up includes many recycle items,” Wei said.

Steve Lepire, Principal, explained that NPHS was given a $200,000 grant a few years ago by the City of Thousand Oaks to promote and enforce recycling on our campus. The grant helped buy recycling bins for every classroom; however, Wei and his staff do not touch these bins unless requested by a teacher, and the recycling club does not recycle these blue bins either.

When NPHS received this grant in the 2012-2013 school year, it started a recycling program on campus, which would later be taken over by the Recycling Club. However, the Recycling Club no longer receives funds from this grant, nor are they aware of the grant. Wei and his janitor staff are unaware the school received this grant as well.

Kim and the Recycling Club believe that recycling is a big issue here on campus. With such a big student body, Kim hopes more people will get involved in recycling, because there is a lot to be done, and only a few people who genuinely care about recycling.

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