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South Valley Journal

Paper gets put in its place

Jul 01, 2022 09:37AM ● By Jet Burnham

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

In order to be good stewards of the environment, students at St. Andrew Catholic School have been participating in a green initiative this year.

“What was happening was a lot of paper was just getting thrown out rather than getting to the recycling bin,” Principal Erin Carrabba said. “So the function of what they did this year was making sure that all of the paper that would otherwise go into the garbage was getting put in the recycling.”

Students involved in the National Junior Honors Society developed a recycling program for the school, placing large paper recycling bins in classrooms and workrooms. Each week, they collected the bins and deposited the paper into an outdoor collection bin to be picked up by the city’s recycling truck and delivered to a recycling center.

The project has been successful.

“We estimate that the green initiative has recycled over 15,000 pounds of paper, which is making a difference,” Carrabba said.

NJHS members said the success of the initiative has been because it addressed a school-wide problem and it involved more than just the twelve members of NJHS.

“It was something the whole school could help with,” said Emma, an NJHS member.

NJHS students were responsible for emptying the bins, and they made sure to educate the other students and the faculty members about their responsibility to use them.

Bubba, another NJHS member, said when younger students see them collect the recycling bins, it is a reminder that the bins are there and that they should put their used paper into the bins instead of the garbage. He said they are also setting an example for younger students.

“They’ll see us picking up the bin, and having them see us take it out shows them, ‘look, they’re recycling, we should also try to do that,'” Bubba said. “So it doesn’t only help the environment around here, they might do that at their house.”

NJHS members said the initiative has already made an impact on their choices, inside and outside the school. They said they are more environmentally aware, looking for a recycling bin while at a friend’s house and remembering to turn off lights at home when they leave the room.

NJHS students plan to expand the initiative into the coming school year and to focus more on education, teaching students strategies for reducing, reusing and recycling.

“They will create activities so that older students can mentor younger students in making conscious decisions about these things,” said NJHS Adviser Mary Carlson, who believes that being good stewards of the environment is part of the students’ Christian identity.

Assistant Principal Vicky Simpson also helps support the program, which will continue to expand each year.

“This is just the first phase of our initiatives,” Carlson said. “This first year was about recycling, the first, easiest step.” The students hope to build onto the initiative each year, addressing food waste and ultimately, building a greenhouse on campus to cultivate and sell plants.

Carlson said the NJHS students are learning how to make their vision and goal a reality by breaking the process down into manageable steps.

“Sometimes we have a billion ideas, but we can only start with one little step,” she said. “So we start with the first step and we do it well.”