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The Student News Site of Gretna East High School

The Wingspan

The Student News Site of Gretna East High School

The Wingspan

Green Team launches aluminum recycling initiative, plans to expand environmental efforts

After stomping cans, Avery Johnson (11) and Cece Hansen (11) scoop the waste into a trash bag to recycle.

With cans of AHA sparkling water sold in the lunchroom and students and staff bringing drinks from home, aluminum cans often find themselves in the trash; the Green Team, whose mission is to make the school as environmentally friendly as possible, wants to change that. During AEP on Wednesdays, Green Team members have started to make the rounds to collect cans from the aluminum recycling boxes that they dispersed to every classroom a few weeks ago.
On Sept. 20, after completing their collection, the Green Team celebrated their first aluminum recycling cycle with a can-crushing party in the parking lot before school. With no elaborate press to crush the cans, members crushed them with their feet.
“We host the can-crushing parties to increase the volume the bags can hold, so we are creating less plastic waste,” sponsor Sierra Arnold said.
After eight consecutive minutes of stomping, the volume of the cans reduced to less than a fourth of what they had been. In the future, Arnold plans on buying snacks and goodies for these parties to celebrate the club’s efforts.
“Everyone comes together towards a single goal,” junior Katie Johnston said. “It makes the atmosphere feel inclusive and relaxed.”
The Green Team wanted to get the aluminum recycling program going earlier in the year, but the club ran into some issues.
“There were many tedious processes we had to take in order to successfully set up a recycling box in every classroom and create routes for our members to collect cans on,” Green Team president Miranda Menosuek said.
In addition to the aluminum recycling program already up and going, the team has set its sights on implementing a paper recycling program at the school.
“We haven’t implemented a paper recycling program because we have to contact Hillside Solutions and pay $987 to dispose of the paper,” Arnold said. “The main issue is fitting that into our budget.”
Hillside Solutions is a Gretna-based, eco-friendly waste management company with recycling, landfill and composting hauling services. The Green Team plans to fundraise to set up a customized recycling program, including a recycling dumpster.
“For now, we just have aluminum recycling, but we aren’t really in contact with the people to dispose of paper or plastic,” Johnston said.
In addition to a possible paper recycling program, the Green Team hopes to eventually add a composting system where students dispose of fruit and vegetable waste to use as fertilizer for the courtyard’s plants.
“Paper recycling costs about $1,000 for the school, so the club doesn’t have the funds for it,” Menosuek said. “At Gretna, Student Co did paper recycling, so we are working with them to see our next plan.”
Regardless of which programs can start this school year, members are excited to help make a difference.
“It’s really fun to be a part of a club where we can grow and help the earth as high school students,” Menosuek said. “Little things matter.”

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Onnika Moore, Editor
Onnika Moore is a junior at Gretna East High School. She was on the Gretna Media staff at Gretna High School for the past two year, and this year at Gretna East, she has earned an editor position. Her goals for journalism this year are to win State awards and build the program from the ground up. Journalism is the only school activity she is involved in, but with her free time, she enjoys drawing, reading and writing. She also loves to spend time with her two cats, Sprinkles and Cylis. 
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