Staring down into a trash bin, one may find a plentiful collection of food wastes, plastics, papers and waste. Administration has implemented trash disposal bins around campus and in all classrooms. Although various paper-designated and generalized plastic collection bins are seen in a spare amount of classrooms, they are not regulated by the school, but instead are set up voluntarily by teachers according to Accelerated/AP/IB Biology teacher Michelle Mardahl-Dumeshil.
“There are only a finite amount of resources on this planet, recycling conserves and preserves some of those resources for future generations. We also don’t want to create new landfills. Many landfills actually have recyclables that could have been used and repurposed, but instead are taking up space. It’s really important to recycle those plastic bottles,” Accelerated biology, AP Environmental Science and IB Environmental Systems and Societies teacher Jennifer Ekstein said.
Upon entering Ekstein’s classroom, one is welcomed by three disposal bins. In an effort to further advocate for environmental friendliness on BVH’s campus, Ekstein has set up an extra bin separate from the ones provided by the school for collecting plastic bottles.
“We should definitely implement a third type of waste bin on our school campus for generalized recyclable plastics. Recycling is actually a cheaper option than sending your trash to the landfills, so having a recycling bin for plastics would be a great option. A lot of the students could definitely use that bin to recycle a variety of different types of plastic,” Ekstein said.
Without designated plastic disposal bins, plastics with the label “recycle” on them will end up at the Chula Vista trash management locations. Around campus we have two types of recycling bins, one primarily for plastics and the other for paper. Neither of these are regulated by the school, but rather are part of the recycling program led by Ovalle.
“Not all hope is lost with generalized trash that we throw in our trash bin. The city of Chula Vista actually has special equipment that will sort some of the trash to become more recycled [material],” Ekstein said.
During sixth period, students may notice special needs students coming into their classroom to collect plastics and aluminum. This is part of the recycling program at Bonita Vista High School run by Special Education Teacher for Young Adults with Moderate to Severe Disabilities, Rosa Ovalle. The funds raised from recycling from the recycled items are then allocated to the Skills Training for Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities account in the BVH’S ASB department. The money is directed toward student-related activities such as field trips, school dances and community-based instruction.
“We do the classroom recycling as a part of our vocational skills program to teach students work skills like following directions. We also do it as a way to give back to the school and do something productive, not just something menial but inspiring,” Ovalle said.
Ovalle’s class is made up of thirteen students, of these two pair of students go around the campus to collect items daily. According to Ekstein, recycling educates students on an important key environmental science lesson: the value of recycling.
“My students are on Individualized Education Plans part of which are Individualized Transition Plans that require us to make post-secondary goals in the areas of Education, Employment, and Independent Living Skills. It also requires us to provide evidence that we are working on and preparing our students in those areas now. My students’ work on vocational tasks to enable them to meet their post-secondary goals in the area of Employment,” Ovalle said.