Saturday, May 24, 2008

Who promotes recycling without a recycling program?

The blog tip line received a call regarding an email message that went out to staff. As stated in an earlier entry, a message went out encouraging staff to "Put paper, glass and aluminum cans in recycling containers instead of garbage cans". The caller had other news to report.

Apparently, the District only recycles paper. Teachers across the District have routinely complained about a lack of recycling in their schools. Some have even gone as far as to transport their recycling home to ensure that it doesn't make it to a landfill.

It looks like management may be out of touch with actual business and operations.

The caller went on to complain that site staff bring trash from home to throw into the school dumpster.


Anonymous said...

Yes. After carefully teaching the students how to recycle (into bins that I bought), custodial staff would dump ALL contents of garbage and recycle containers together. When asked, they said that there was no recycling program in the District. NIE (Newspapers In Education) papers, a perfectly recyclable item, were thrown away daily unless I took them home where we had curbside recycling.

Another "Do as I say, not as I do" moment for the Edmonds SD.

Anonymous said...

Very true! Last year a new teacher at our building ignored the custodial staff and called Waste Management directly. We now recycle glass and cans along with paper....but it took a staff member to go outside the channels to get it done. Who knows if it really makes it into recycling at the dumpster.

Anonymous said...

When I worked for the District, we had the blue re-cycle wastepaper baskets througout the building
(school), but the Custodian threw it all into one dumpster. Go figure.... We are trying to teach kids here.

Anonymous said...

what the heck are the blue recycle bins at each desk at the ESC for? I make sure to separate my stuff thinking we were recycling I am so disappointed. It's another that it looks to the public we are recycling when we really are just filling landfill? Shame on the district.

And yes believe me I reported a staff person that was dumping sacks and sacks of garbage from a horse trailer into a buildings garbage bin. I have heard that building staff bring home garbage and dump in school bins and that even retiree's keep bring theirs in and dumping at school sites. Unbelievable but true!

Anonymous said...

As a custodian, I can lend some insight into this issue. While laziness on the part of some custodial staff does exist, there are a number of factors that contribute to the current situation.

First, there are only two companies offering commercial recycling services in most of the territory covered by the District. Their policies dictate what we have to offer, and past experience with the District has taught them to limit participation in the recycling program.

Individuals in classrooms and other workspaces have traditionally done a poor job of separating recyclable from non-recyclable material. This increases the cost for recovering recyclable materials (which is still largely done by hand), and reduces the end quality and so the sale ability of recycled material.

If a recycling container is laden with trash or soiling that makes the materials unusable they will empty the contents into the refuse. Custodial staff do not have time to separate materials nor can the abate soiling that has contaminated the recyclables.

Either we all make the effort to recycle, or we don't. A few who will not go along with the program can, and do ruin it for the majority.

Anonymous said...

Here's what I was told. If a kid throws even a pencil into the recycling bin, the custodians have been told that the bin is then immediately "trash" because they do not have the time to sort trash.

If teachers are diligent, then the recycling is recycled.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the custodial perspective. It's amazing how a few lines of text and communication can bring clarity to a problem.

So, now what do we do? Keep messing it up, or re-double our efforts to save the planet? said...

I am still puzzled that the head of Business and Operations had no idea that effective recycling in the District is a myth.

To save energy, why not shut down all those power-hungry servers every night. That would save a few dollars each month.