The Californian

Cal High should be recycling paper waste

Michelle Kuperman, Staff Writer

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From classroom assignments to school newspapers, paper is everywhere at Cal High, but it all eventually ends up in the same place: landfills. 

The catchy saying “reduce, reuse, recycle” is sadly not coming into play on Cal’s campus beyond bottles and cans.

Students often receive paper assignments and throw them away without thinking twice. This is not unique to our campus. 

Americans on average use 85 million tons of paper a year, which equates to about 680 pounds per person. 

The amount of paper that goes into the waste each year is enough to heat about 50 million homes for 20 years, according to  a study done by University of Southern Indiana.

According to National Wildlife Federation, 17 trees and 6,953 gallons of water can be saved by recycling just one ton of paper. 

If we can make a change, we can save thousands of trees. So why don’t we?

Cal has recycling bins in classrooms and large containers around campus for bottles and cans, but the school’s lack of paper recycling is becoming a huge concern to many environmentally aware students and science teachers on campus.

“We are definitely aware of this situation and have complained about this for years now,” said teacher Joanna Condon, who teaches biology and biomed. “We would love to see a recycling program for paper at our school. There is a bin for paper in the parking lot corral behind the science building but rarely anybody uses it.” 

People are not realizing the lack of paper recycling. If students knew how landfills damag our environment and the effects of paper not being recycled, maybe a change will happen. 

Most people don’t think about the importance of it, so why should Cal take action?

Not only are people saving trees and forests by recycling, they are saving landfill space and oil use. 

“Show them how many forests are harvested for trees and the rate of deforestation, so they can see the damage they are causing,” said Dina Anderson, AP Environmental Science teacher. “About 55 percent of the world’s tree harvest is used to make paper. One hundred million trees are used each year to produce junk mail.” 

By just doing the minimum of reusing scratch paper or creating a bin for recycling paper only, the school can really impact our environment. 

By reducing the amount of paper that needs disposal, we can reduce the potential for air and water pollution.  

“Making recycled paper produces 35 percent less water pollution and 74 percent less air pollution than does making from wood pulp, and, of course, no trees are cut down,” said Anderson. 

To have a greener classroom, teachers can promote the use of a designated container for scratch paper. This container can be useful for students who do not know where to put their paper that has only been written on one side. Reusing scratch paper for calculations or drawing can go a long way. 

Let’s make our campus a better place by coming together and creating a plan.  

“Every classroom could do their own recycling job and someone could volunteer to collect it on every floor,” said Erica Steadman, Biology teacher.

What Cal needs is a group of students who feel strongly about this issue that can create a club or system for the school. 

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The School Newspaper for California High School, San Ramon CA
Cal High should be recycling paper waste