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Blue bins and aluminum tins: MC’s recycling program

Francesca Hodges | Photographer
Francesca Hodges | Photographer

Blue bins and aluminum tins are two crucial components to MC’s recycling program conducted by the Critical Skills classroom in the H-building. Each Tuesday during fourth and fifth period, students from the class visit over 70 rooms on campus to collect plastic, glass, and aluminum from classroom bins. On average, five big trash bags full of recycling are collected on a weekly basis, with the funds going directly back to the Critical Skills classroom.

“The recycling program has been a staple of our classroom even before I was the teacher here,” Critical Skills teacher Sara Okleshen said. “It’s been a program that has been in place so that our classroom can earn money. It’s allowed us to be able to cook on Fridays, buy new things for our garden – we need vegetables, plants, fertilizer.”

This program not only contributes to the Critical Skills curriculum, but also provides MC’s only recyclable receptacles.  This classroom on campus has joined with the AP Environmental Science Class to put into motion a paper recycling program that will commence in a few months.

“The idea behind the paper recycling is the same thing – we’re getting a lot of trash in our blue recycling bins,” Okleshen said. “A lot of people are throwing out their paper as well, so it’s pretty wasteful. Mt. Carmel actually does have a paper recycling bin in the back of the school by the cafeteria so we’re now going to start collecting that to help the environment. We’re not going to get any money from it but it’s a good thing to help the environment and keep MC looking great.”

However, for those unaware of the impact of the recycling program, Okleshen would like to provide a reminder on the proper usage of the recycling receptacles around campus.

“Please make sure that you’re just throwing aluminum, glass, or plastic,” Okleshen said. “Please don’t throw your trash in those bins, especially food because it really does smell and our kids are the ones that are sorting it. Although we use gloves and hand sanitizer and trash pickers, I’m also sorting it, everybody in the classroom is sorting it and it can be really gross so we just encourage everyone to remember to please recycle plastic, aluminum, and glass. It makes it a little bit easier.”

Ultimately, the program serves as a benefit to the Critical Skills classroom itself, the environment, and the students who collect the bottles and cans.

“It’s just a nice time to pop in; see different areas of campus,” Okleshen said. “It also works with making sure that we know where all the rooms on campus are and which teacher is in which classroom. All of the funds go straight to our critical skills classroom because we cook or we go out every Friday […]. On average, when we cook, it costs about $50 to $60 every time, so all of the funds go straight back to our students.”

About Chloe Jiang

Chloe Jiang is a senior and a co-editor-in-chief of The Sun, a tea aficionado, a La Jolla Cove frequenter, a grammar snob, and an advocate for gender equality. Among her favorite words are bougie and trite.

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