On Friday afternoons, you may hear the dumping of bottles and cans or you may see a man moving quickly up and down the halls and through the connectors emptying those bright blue containers.
In a school of 2,500 plus students and hundreds of staff members, it is of no surprise that the amount of plastic bottles and cans disposed of each day is innumerable.
Veteran science teacher Jeff McManus noticed the large amount of waste the school was accumulating day in and day out.
“I kept seeing so many bottles and cans end up in trash that I brainstormed ways to get them to a place that would recycle them,” he said.
While Fairmont hasn’t had a consistent recycling system over the years, many teachers and students have tried to establish numerous ways to limit the waste.
“We have not had a school-wide program, though several teachers and groups had tried to start over the years,” he said. “They would run into one roadblock or another. Sometimes an enthusiastic student would start it, but then graduate and the effort would fade out.”
McManus tried to put together a simple way to reduce waste and encourage recycling throughout the building.
“I tried to create a process that can be carried on by a few folks without a huge burden on any one person if I ever stop running things,” he said.
While not every space or area in the building has its own blue recycling bin, many of them do. The bins are easy to recognize and students and staff members should make an effort to find one before just tossing things in the trash.
“There are about 100 bins out in classrooms or offices now,” McManus said. “That’s a large percentage of the rooms.”
The hardest part of the recycling process is often times just getting the cans and bottles to the right place. It takes a willing individual or group to transport all of the items collected throughout the week.
“I take it in my truck to a place where I can dump plastic and metal together to be recycled,” he said. “I don’t know where it actually ends up after that.”
While McManus is collecting and delivering a lot of recyclable items on his own, many people in the building are still placing recyclable items in trash cans.
“We take about 6-7 large black bags each week with bottles and cans, but a lot still end up in trash. Please hang on to your plastic and metal until you are in a classroom with a bin so that less ends up in the trash stream,” he said.
According to a Dayton Daily News article, Rumpke noted what they can and cannot accept to recycle. Items that they can take include: Paper products like cereal boxes, cardboard and phone books, plastic bottles, including emptied drink, shampoo and detergent bottles, metal cans, but only non-hazardous and non-flammable materials, like soda cans or canned soups, fruits and vegetables and cartons, like emptied juice boxes, orange juice and milk cartons.
Things that cannot be recycled include: Plastic bags (grocery stores do take used plastic shopping bags), yard waste and debris, any hazardous materials, clothing, batteries, pots and pans, needles (Rumpke asks people place sharp objects, like needles, in a plastic container, seal lid with tape and write “sharps” on the container. Then dispose of the container in the regular trash).
Starting in July, Kettering residents will use Rumpke Waste & Recycling for residential refuse and recycling services, as the city agreed to a five-year contact.
Doing our part at Fairmont is a step in the right direction; however, the impact on the environment and the overall concern with waste goes beyond our walls.
“It’s really important everywhere, not just here. We have a lot of recyclable material that ends up in the landfill for centuries if we don’t.”