Utilizing resources to encourage eco friendliness

Mikaela Ramirez, Staff Writer

Climate change has been and continues to be an increasing problem that affects all regions of the world.

These effects have been shown in many ways such as the recent irregularity in cold and warm weather patterns in Illinois, heat waves in Europe with temperatures up to 113°F, and the recent, massive bush fires in Australia.

Even though the environmental problems may make the idea of alleviating mankind’s effect on the Earth seem impossible, many people have put in time and effort into lessening their negative impact on the environment. Actions such as planting millions of trees or small acts like reducing the use of non-degradable items can both make a significant change in the world.

A goal of the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) and Key Club is to help encourage the reduction of waste. One program implemented last year was the use of compost bins in the cafeteria to encourage students to put food waste into compost.

“The County of South was doing a green recycling program, and we were actually nominated from our district to pilot the compost program,” Assistant Principal Michael Romeli said.

“From my understanding, there would be farms and things like that that bought our compost and would use it as fertilizer for whatever they were growing,” he said.

While some non-degradable waste found their way into the bins, many people participated in the program, and plenty of compost was collected. The bins have not been available for use this school year.

Recycling is encouraged within the school and one of the services monitored by Key Club. Some members are tasked with emptying classroom recycling bins and the material is placed in the school’s recycling dumpster.

The club’s goal is to reduce waste and ensure that the reusable items are put in their respective bins. This is a simple method people can follow to help the environment.

“I think the reason that people don’t [reduce waste] is because it’s more convenient. … I think it comes down to convenience, but I also think people should be more mindful [of their actions],” sophomore and Key Club leader Sana Khan said.

Like the compost bins, some items found in the bins but cannot be recycled.

“Paper, cans, plastic bottles, cardboard, chipboard, like from cereal boxes. can go into the recycling,” SEAC sponsor Rebecca Young said. “Food, napkins, plates, chip and plastic bags, etc. cannot go into the recycling.  If incorrect items go into the recycling, it may cause [all the items] to end up in the landfill and not be recycled.”

“Refill [your] water bottles, instead of buying new plastic water bottles, always contribute to the recycling bins in their classrooms, and be educated and aware of our environment,” Key Club co-sponsor Tambra Frey said.

From recycling to compost, methods of preservation both big and small can be accomplished by anyone. Plainfield East students, for example, have made plans to implement an artistic wildflower garden called the “Kindness Garden.”

Located outside the media center, many shrubs and flowers will be planted in the garden with a path surrounding it that will allow some classes to utilize it in lessons.

“I think it is important for students to feel empowered that they can do many things to reduce their environmental impact. When we show our commitment to this, it becomes easy for the commitment to spread to others,” Young said.