One of the many clubs at Camas High School is the Green team. This club strives to decrease waste, increase recycling and compost, and to impact the community in “green” ways. In addition, the Green team strives to raise awareness on environmental issues while encouraging students to take action.
This year, for example, the Green Team saved 3000 pounds of plastic film from being put in landfills. However, such projects would fail if not for the efforts of the student body, who brought in grocery bags and plastic packaging to be recycled.
This year the Green team has worked extremely hard to make sure that waste in the cafeteria is being sorted properly. After demonstrating this process, club members monitor trash bins to re-sort any waste put in the wrong bins. Some of the major waste products are paper plates that are thrown away after every lunch; however, these plates were not always paper.
Last year the school received a grant to replace the paper plates with reusable plasticware, hoping to reduce waste by 30%. Since then, the majority of these plates have been lost or thrown away. As a result, this has caused an additional cost to replace the plastic plates with paper, as well as increasing waste once more.
Principal Steve Marshall explained, “This issue touches on multiple sub-issues. One [issue] is that we need people to do the right thing. Each plate is a piece of property and we would hope our students would show respect for it by returning it to the collection bins. Secondly, we would like students to conserve our resources and recycle.”
Marshall went on to explain that he hopes to receive another grant, but it could be a long hard process. The state may hesitate to give a new grant since the original funds were wasted in a little over a year.
The Green Team members say that if given the chance, they will support the efforts for a new grant to help lower waste, but success will depend on student actions.