Students tackle inadequate recycling

Two years ago BHS handled its recycling through Recology — a program that took trash and separated recyclable materials from it. However, this system proved expensive, and the district transitioned to its current program, Redwood Debris Box. Under the new program, if a green bin in a teacher’s classroom has even one piece of trash in it, the entire bin is deemed trash.

 All across campus, recycling bins like this are full of trash. The banana peel here deems this entire recycling bin as trash.

All across campus, recycling bins like this are full of trash. The banana peel here deems this entire recycling bin as trash.

The search for a better recycling program has proven to be complicated, with no one really knowing the correct path to initiate change. In early October, associate student body president Lily Navab and freshman class President Zoe Steinberger wanted to bring BHS to the same recycling standards as the City of Burlingame and wanted to implement better recycling at BHS. They approached the city council with their grievances.

“We discussed the possibility of extending programs for city Burlingame [to BHS], but the city has no jurisdiction on the recycling program for schools,” Navab said. “So from there, we were put in contact with the district board.”

After contacting multiple district officials, Navab managed to put recycling on their agenda. However, the prospect of implementation is uncertain. When Navab tried to find out who at the district would initiate these changes, she was not given a clear answer.

“No one — the District Board, Belzer, City Hall — no one knows who is really in charge of our trash. There’s no set person who’s at the core of it, and every person who’s supposed to be in charge doesn’t really know who to go,” Navab said.

Navab explained that the recycling program was changed two years ago only because of “environmental companies in the area” supplying the school with grant money to implement recycling changes. These changes were mainly focused on recycling bottles, and as a result, the only containers for recycling outside of the classroom were for bottles.

“There was no private grant for an actual program, and so we just started circling around this issue because no one really knows what to do,” Navab said.

The recycling problem will be presented to the district board at an unknown future point. Changes are sure to be slow and deliberate, so until then, students will have to work with the current program and learn to recycle properly.

Posted on October 28, 2018 .