Recycling Program Stuck in Neutral

Though there are opportunities for an expanded recycling program in the new building, currently nothing is being recycled


Hayli Manning

New bins have been placed outside the building that give students and faculty the option for a more environmentally friendly alternative to throwing recyclables away.

Hayli Manning, Opinion Editor

Director of facilities Mike Bolger believes that students should get involved with the recycling program at Holbrook schools, and he is not alone. “I think that recycling anything we can recycle or reuse is good for the environment, and it’s great for the students to learn.”

Many students identify themselves as not only environmentalists but also activists, and those qualities are prominent in the classroom. When students noticed that the recycling bins were being thrown into the garbage, many of them were upset.

One of the main perks of the new building that the staff picked up on were the green and blue recycling bins next to the trash barrels in each room. However, about a month ago, it was revealed that all of the recycling bins were being tossed directly into the dumpster. Fast forward a few weeks later, the recycling bins have disappeared! Curious as to what happened, students started asking questions, and I went digging.

Mr. Bolger, the director of facilities, agreed to be interviewed by the newspaper in order to discuss the status of the recycling situation. Apparently the school, which obviously must produce a lot of paper and bottles, has been waiting on a trash compactor for weeks. The compactor will be compressing the recyclables by 40% and has been scheduled to arrive for a “substantial amount of time,” Bolger says. Unfortunately, it won’t be set in place for another few weeks- or so we hope!

Although we are not currently recycling within the school district, we can look forward to some new and exciting features that will benefit not only the school, but the environment in the long run. The modern recycling system will now permit the district to single stream, allowing not only paper and plastic, but also glass, all to be disposed of within the same containers. Fortunately, despite what it seems, Holbrook will eventually expand its recycling program.

Throughout the building, there are recycling stations. You may have missed them, but next time you walk around, look for the “green” signs on the wall. The building is also certified as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver, meaning it has the second highest environmental rating a building can obtain. 

In the past years in Holbrook High School, the National Honor Society (NHS) and Junior National Honor Society (JNHS) have been in charge of taking the recyclables to the proper bins once a week. Now, the role the Honor Societies will play in recycling might be completely abolished. Even so, new ideas are being brought to the table, in which students could bring the recycling bins to the stations every day and the custodians would move them from there. This is Mr. Bolger’s ideal system, one he hopes will be in place soon.

One custodian, Mr. Kerr, believes that it could be a while before the system is up and running. When asked where the recycling bins were taken, he responded with a valid reason for their disappearance. “There’s no use for them,” Mr. Kerr said. Previously, the custodians were expected to dump three barrels into one. This change makes things easier for them.

Previously, the JFK and the South School didn’t recycle nearly as much as the high school. “They recycled some paper,” Mr. Bolger informs us, “But now… the whole district will be recycling with the exact same process.

And the school administrators want to recycle – a lot, but maybe not for the same reasons as the environmentalists in the building. Recycling actually saves the school money because they wouldn’t be paying to empty the dumpster as often. The cost that the district will retain is enough as an initiative to motivate the school to recycle, aside from the environmental cost we’ll save. 

Mr. Bolger is hopeful that next week we will finally be able to start our recycling program; every day we neglect to recycle within our school, we are significantly hurting the planet.