NA Cafeterias Face Recycling Challenges


Claire Fiedler

One of the few recycling bins in cafeteria where recycling items has become difficult.

Claire Fiedler, Staff Writer

Recycling is the process of collecting and processing old paper and plastic products to turn them into new products. North Allegheny School District encourages recycling but has recently run into issues recycling during lunch periods. 

The recycling company the school uses, Waste Management, charges $125 extra if they see a garbage bag in the school’s recycling bin. During lunch periods, it is difficult to control where waste products go, often resulting in garbage bags full of potentially recyclable materials that can’t be recycled without a large cost to the school.

 North Allegheny Intermediate’s principal, Mrs. Caitlin Ewing, said “Each classroom should have a recycling bin, and if they don’t they are encouraged to tell Mr. Heiry, our custodian. Specific locations have them as well. We do, however, always struggle with the cafeteria.”

When asked about how to combat this issue, Mrs. Ewing said, “One thing that I think will help us become more efficient and do it [recycling] with integrity would be to educate all of us on how and what to recycle.” 

Many students over the past years have come to the high school with ideas to help the recycling problem and experiences with recycling programs and clubs in middle school. However, Mrs. Ewing says, “It really takes someone standing at the garbage and saying this goes, this doesn’t.” The issue with recycling at lunch is difficult to resolve.

Not all hope is lost for continued productive recycling at the school. Mrs. Ewing has been here for 6 years, and each group that has tried during that time has put their best foot forward. She says, “It is really going to take a group of dedicated teachers and students to really start planning for next school year and roll it out with everybody’s beginning of the year routine.” 

Over the years, many clubs have been created and dismantled as the members age into North Allegheny Senior High. To combat this trend, Mrs. Ewing encourages students to find a sustainable way to improve recycling at our school. Recycling protects the environment and putting programs in place would be a great way to support our school. If there is a group of students dedicated to the project, they could make a real and impactful change.  

The issue of recycling in our school district’s cafeteria is difficult yet important to solve.