The overuse of plastic is an impending doom on our society. As more plastic waste fills the Earth’s landfills, oceans, and waterways, consumers are asked to be more cautious of the waste they produce.
While most of the students and staff cannot help this problem on an international scale, we can make change in our county.
FCPS uses large amounts of plastic each day during lunch periods. Plastic straws and plastic utensils are seen in large tubs. Many times students grab utensils and straws even if they don’t need them. Even the fruit is in a small plastic cup.
FCPS has made strides in recent years to reduce their plastic waste by switching from pink polystyrene trays to the current molded fiber trays. The Office of Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) follows waste guidelines provided by the government. These guidelines make sure the FNS does not produce large quantities of food waste.
The FNS has two major vendors for cafeteria supplies, Dade Paper & Bag LLC and Riverside Paper Supply Company. During the 2018-19 school year, FCPS spent about $1 million on cafeteria supplies. FCPS has been working with their vendors to get paper straws instead of plastic in middle and high schools.
There have been many initiatives to help make our school system more environmentally conscious. Clubs at AHS, like the Green Atoms, are also helping by recycling and managng the courtyards.
However, FCPS and AHS still produces a large amount of garbage.
FCPS is not the only reason there is so much waste. Schools around the county are horrible at recycling and trash is still being produced in large sums.
According to FCPS Get2Green, a FCPS sponsored environmental program, AHS has been lowering the amount of recyclables produced. In 2018, 81.19% of waste was trash and only 18.81% of waste was recyclable.
Other high schools, like Justice and Woodson, recycle as bad as AHS or worse. One reason for this is the size of the school. In 2018, 79.43% of waste produced at Woodson was trash. The other 20.57% were recyclables.
Elementary schools are the best recyclers in the county because they are so small. Another reason is recyclables being thrown in the trash anyways.
Students bring in sports drinks, soda cans and other recyclable materials and then throw them away in the garbage can. Students need to recycle properly because our custodial staff does not sort out the trash.
All student and staff must do their part to help make FCPS and AHS more environmentally friendly.