Marshall waste reveals minimal recycling rate

The Fairfax County School Board Regulation 8541 requires all Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) facilities to recycle, but the extent to which Marshall does so is unclear.
The U.S. Department of Education named FCPS the 2017 Green Ribbon School District due to their initiation of Get2Green in 2010, a program which tracks environmental data for every FCPS school. According to the website, from Jan. to Dec. 2018, the waste at Marshall consisted of 70.21 percent of trash and 29.79 percent of recycling.
“[As] an environmental science teacher, I’m always going to say I don’t think we recycle enough,” IB Environmental Systems and Societies teacher and Earth Force sponsor Andrew Litterst said. “I think, unfortunately, a lot of the times, [the recycling] ends up being collected with the trash.”
Members of the Earth Force club collect the recycling after school once a week, while the evening custodians are responsible for the same task on the other four days.
“The custodians are only given one trash can, so they pour the recycling and trash together, understandably,” senior and Earth Force co-president Madison Mohajerin (Madison Monroe)said. “Earth Force collects the recycling specifically so that the custodians don’t have to merge [them] both.”
Each week, Earth Force has eight to 12 participants who collect the recycling from the classrooms.
“[Recycling] would be improved if there were more volunteers,” senior and Key Club president Luka Gabitsinashvili said. “I think a better solution could be talking to the principal [about] how custodians need to have two bins to separate trash from recycling.”
Assistant building supervisor Jesse O’Neal said he believes students need to do their part when it comes to recycling as well.
“Students don’t really recycle like they should [because they] just throw stuff everywhere,” O’Neal said. “[They] can be more conscious by reading the signs that are posted in the cafeteria and when they go to throw things away, putting [them] in the right containers.”
Gabitsinashvili said he would also like to see more sensibility about recycling among students.
“If everyone dedicated 30 minutes after school to help out, then maybe the recycling team [could] do this initiative every single day,” Gabitsinashvili said.
Monroe said if people stopped placing the wrong items in the recycling bins, Earth Force would no longer have to sort through the containers to find the recycling.
“A lot of students just don’t care,” Monroe said. “There’s a lot of apathy toward things you don’t see. We need to do our part.”