Student news of Olympia High School

The Olympus

Student news of Olympia High School

The Olympus

Student news of Olympia High School

The Olympus

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Empowering sustainability: OHS Earth Corps lead the way in recycling

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City of Olympia recycling service making a difference. Photo courtesy of All Ready Moving.
City of Olympia recycling service making a difference. Photo courtesy of All Ready Moving.

Today, every city, county, state, and country has its own rules regarding recycling which makes it nearly impossible to establish a universal understanding of what truly can and can’t be recycled. The City of Olympia Recycling Guide details exactly what should be recycled, composted, and thrown away.

Although these guidelines are designed to be easily understood, many people still fail to grasp some of the finer points. Below, insights from Hope Springer, an Education and Outreach Specialist for the Thurston County Solid Waste Division, highlight the most common improper practices when recycling and mistakenly recycled items.

  • Items that are mistakenly recycled
    • Frozen/refrigerated food boxes (wet-strength paper)
    • Paper milk, broth, juice, etc. cartons
    • Plastic clamshells and trays
    • Plastic cold cups like iced coffee cups
    • Food-soiled pizza boxes
    • Paper mailers
    • Egg cartons, paper towel rolls (pulp paper) 
  • Improper preparation for recycling 
    • bagging (in paper or plastic) recyclable items 
    • not breaking down boxes
    • not making sure items are empty, clean, & dry
    • not removing lids (and placing them in the garbage) 

On top of all this, Springer remarks that “a lot of the time, people do not want to accept that the list of what is actually accepted is pretty small.” This, in turn, can lead to what she calls “wish-cycling,” which is when someone wants something to be recyclable to feel better about using or purchasing it. 

At OHS, there is no recycling unless students take the initiative. Earth Corps Club has taken on this role and every Friday after school, the club picks up the recycling from each of the classes. This is a hard task, especially when they have a low amount of people.

 Emily Carson, Earth Corps Advisor, remarked that historically, Earth Corps also managed OHS’s compost but recently “they had to let go of [the responsibility] because it is too big of a task for them.” The minimal staff numbers limit what the club is able to accomplish.

There are many reasons to join Earth Corps. Faye Hervieux, Earth Corps Secretary, highlights that it is ”a fun community and you know that you are doing something worthwhile that makes a difference.” 

For those interested in making a difference, Earth Corps meets in room 702 during Bear Time  A, or you can join them to pick up recycling on Fridays after school in the commons. 

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