Students and staff do recycle at Newton North. According to Principal Henry Turner, contrary to popular belief, “Trucks take away recycling from North three to four times per week.” Unfortunately, however, student and staff recycling efforts are often thwarted by contamination, causing batches of recycled material to end up in the trash. The City of Newton is promoting proper recycling using a video starring Mayor Ruthanne Fuller and expanded information on the city’s website. Waneta Trabert, sustainable materials management director, and her waste management team at City Hall have designed materials (see below) for use throughout the schools so that students K-12 are getting a consistent message.
At Newton North, sustainability students are also working to promote informed recycling. “‘Wishcycling’ won’t work,” stated Ms. Dannenberg, “We have to recycle less, avoiding contamination, in order to recycle more. When in doubt, throw it out.” Added Ms. Dannenberg,
“Wishcycling is responsible for a whole lot of the contamination in the recycling stream, and can result in complete rejection of our recyclables by buyers. In too many cases, recyclable materials can’t actually be recycled because they are contaminated by either materials that need to be recycled in a different stream (e.g. plastic grocery bags, shredded paper) or can’t be recycled at all (liquids, food, prescription pill bottles).”
The Sustainability Club planned and hosted Sustainability Day on November 26, 2019, to educate students about the the do’s and don’ts of recycling. Guest speakers and exhibitors included the City of Newton Departments of Transportation and Waste Management, Bike Newton, Safe Routes to School, and Grad Bag, an organization that spruces up gently used dorm items for students entering college. See photos on the NNHS PTSO Facebook page.