SGA launches recycling initiative for 2022


Matthew Yamamoto

On Dec. 2 during advisement, teachers showed a playful song and video about recycling at Decatur High School (DHS). The video created by Ivy League members Elise Marrah, Sam Manasso, and Madelyn McElroy consisted of lighthearted lyrics to encourage recycling, but it represents the success of a long sought recycling initiative led by the Student Government Association (SGA). 

In the past, only some classrooms have had recycling bins accessible. Before the pandemic, SGA proposed a recycling initiative to make bins more accessible and consistent, but the shutdown halted these efforts. This year, however, Manasso and other members of SGA saw the need for recycling at the school and pushed to revitalize these efforts.

“It’s so important for our community to take steps to preserve the environment, and this recycling initiative will help us towards that goal,” Manasso said. “I’ve certainly noticed the need for recycling in classrooms, and it’s time for our school to do what we can to make our community more sustainable.” 

Members of SGA, the Ivy League, Garden Club and the Environmental Club met with Principal Lofstrand to propose their new recycling plan. “We met with Ms. Lofstrand in early November and discussed our action plan. We met again in early December to check in and finalize those plans,” said Madelyn McElroy, another SGA member. Since then, McElroy, Manasso, and the SGA have taken strides to push their plans to fruition. 

“We have been able to work with the city and the school to organize the distribution of recycling bins, as well as the process for getting our recycling picked up and taken to a recycling center,” Manasso said. 

The recycling effort will be run by different school clubs every week. After the Christmas holiday break, recycling bins will be distributed to every classroom in the school, as well as posters guiding students what and what not to recycle. Each club working with the SGA on this initiative – which right now includes Ivy League, Garden Club, National Honor Society, and Environmental Club – will be scheduled in certain weeks to collect the recycling from classrooms for the city to pick up.

Recycling in schools can have significant effects on reducing waste. Repurposing materials keeps natural resources and manufacturing energy from going to waste. It also keeps waste out of landfills and protects the environment. Also, according to the American Federation of Teachers, 40% of school waste is paper —  a recyclable item. For each ton of paper that is recycled, 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of electricity, and 7,000 gallons of water are saved. At DHS, implementing recycling in every classroom will hopefully have a similar effect, according to Manasso. 

“I hope that this recycling initiative will make a lasting impact on our school in significantly reducing our impact on the environment,” Manasso said. 

Now, SGA and the clubs involved are on a mission to encourage recycling and to educate students and staff on how to do it correctly. Students like Sam Manasso and the SGA hope to promote the importance of sustainability and the school’s carbon footprint. Even now, they are planning to launch a composting initiative.

I hope that the recycling program not only reduces the school´s waste production but also encourages people to begin thinking about sustainability in their lives away from school,” McElroy said.