Environmental club “rolls” out new recycling initiative


Kim Halm

A primer on different recycling receptacles around the building.

Mr. Michael Roller is leading the second stage of the recycling initiative at NCHS with the help of the Environmental club and the administration.

Roller coordinated with the administration last year to get single stream recycling bins in 25 classrooms. Single stream recycling allows for all recyclable materials to be recycled together without being sorted.

Roller, along with some student volunteers, like Amanda Gravelle(11), collects the recycling from these bins during lunch or after school.

“It just makes me feel at least a little bit better about the situation [with the environment] to be able to help,” Gravelle said, “even if it’s in a small way.”

NCHS currently has limited access to single-stream recycling, so the majority of recycling bins around the school are for paper only. Previous attempts to make single stream recycling more widely available by placing bins throughout the school have lead to trash getting mixed in with recycling. For the recycling initiative to be successful, students have to be involved and committed to recycling properly.

“Years ago we had recycling receptacles all throughout the building. But kids were not using them correctly,” so administration discontinued the program Roller said, “We decided what if we put smaller containers spread throughout the building in classrooms. The hope is that the teachers can help monitor those bins.”

Normal Community West High School already has widely available single stream recycling. Roller’s next goal is to update the district’s waste management contract next time it is renewed to bring single stream to NCHS as well.

“Recycling has always been a passion of mine,” Roller said, “it’s something that really should be easy to do.”

Roller is sharing this passion as sponsor of the Environmental club, now in its second year. Last year, the club focused on projects to help the school and community environment; this year, the club is focusing on teaching individuals about their impact on the environment.

“The club is more for just learning about the environment,” Anya Weber (11), a member of Environmental club said, “and getting all the information you need to help the environment yourself.”

Along with teaching members about the environment, the club also hopes to create informational materials for the student body addressing common issues with recycling bins.

“I see trash in the recycling bins, I see recycling in the trash, and I see stuff on the floor,” Weber said, “ it’s not really supposed to be there.”

Anna DeBruine (12) and Micah Stahl (11) are working on their recycling focused 20% Project with Roller’s help. The pair is collecting bottle caps in containers around the school that will eventually be recycled into a bench for the school grounds.

“I just thought it was a really great way to help the environment,” DeBruine said, “and teach people about the harmfulness of plastic to our oceans and environment.”

The Environmental club aims to provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to protect the Earth. Students have been inspired by Roller and his passion for the planet to take action.

“Mr. Roller is so passionate about the environment,” Weber said, “so then every time he talks about it, it just makes me want to help more.”