Let’s talk dirty


Image courtesy of Flickr under the creative commons license

Will Drury, Parsnip Editor

The day I found an entire, unopened, king-size Kit-Kat bar in the trash was the day I realized we had a problem. After roughly an hour digging through the hazardous waste dump that is KHS’s trash, I found it lying helpless in a puddle of lumpy yogurt and rotting orange peels, discarded by a no-doubt heartless field. Were it not for purpose of scientific integrity, I might have eaten it, but alas, sometimes we have to let go of the things we love the most.

KHS produces roughly 76,000 pounds of trash a year”

Melodrama aside, KHS has a waste problem and it stinks. Literally. Fortunately, a small number of students including myself have picked up the scent and are spraying it with all the metaphorical Febreze we can find. As a part of the Environmental Sustainability class with Mandy Melton, KHS Biology teacher, each student has created their own project in an effort to make the school greener, and a handful of those students have decided to focus on reducing trash. Un-fortunatly, a few green teens and 45 minutes of class is hardly enough to make difference on its own.

According to Anna Sutterer, senior, KHS produces roughly 76,000 pounds of trash a year, and that’s just based off data from the garbage cans in the commons and cafeteria. After two of these waste audits, she found that of those 76,000 pounds, only 12 percent is trash by weight. The rest is either compost (30 percent), liquids (36 percent) or recyclables (22 percent). If the dangerous amounts of methane which compost and liquids produce in landfills isn’t enough to convince you that we need a change, consider the amount of money KHS could save by reducing our trash by up to 80 percent.

In a perfect world, we would simply put out composting and recycling bins around the school, but I think we can all admit that high schoolers are hardly perfect. To really cut down on our trash, we need to be smarter about what we’re throwing away and we’re not just talking Kit Kat bars. It was shocking how many uneaten bananas, granola bars, salads, bags of pretzels, oranges, entire gatorades and lovingly homemade sandwiches we came across in our dumpster dives. If the parents of this school could see what their children are throwing away, we would never hear the end of it.

Thanks to Melton’s class, we are expecting a few big changes to come by next semester, such as a school-wide composting program, recyclable cups in the coffee shop and more recycling bins around the halls, but they can only do so much. It takes a little effort on the part of every student at KHS if we want to cut down on waste, whether it’s taking a few extra steps to go to the recycling bin or saving part of your lunch for the next day. Really, all I’m asking you to do is finish your Kit Kat bars. I hope that’s not too much to ask.