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CVHS recycles and compost

Organics bins for food scraps and food soiled paper have been placed in the courtyard and the cafeteria for CVHS students to compost during lunch. Compost monitors, wearing neon green vests, have been placed at each compost station to educate the community of CVHS about proper waste disposal. Does it belong in the organics bin, recycling cart, or trash can?

During lunch on Wednesday, Sept. 27, the organics bins were rolled out. The compost monitors passed out washable tattoos and politely notified students of improper disposals.

“As you can see, people don’t quite know where to put their garbage,” said monitor Joshua Hicken.

According to the Castro Valley Sanitary District (CVSan), a compost program was in place at 13 of 17 schools in Castro Valley prior to CVHS.

At last year’s waste audit, students and staff sorted through two days worth of trash from the bins around campus. About 256 bags were collected and ripped opened. The contents from each bag were sorted. At the end of the day, there were 118 bags worth of compostable material, 86 bags worth of recyclables, and 52 bags of actual trash.

“Only 20 percent was garbage, the other 80 percent was compostable or recyclable. And that’s expensive,” said monitor Victor Hernandez-Vega.

If the trash cans were used solely for trash, CVHS would save save $40,000 annually.

Caroline Clemente, a compost monitor for the day, wanted to see the culture of CVHS embrace the change.

“I hope that students learn where their food goes… [so] that the school becomes more green,” said Clemente.

One student was eager to try out the new system and shuffled through his backpack to hand his recyclables to a compost monitor, but other students didn’t sort their waste, throwing it all into the trash bins.

Now that the food scrap program is being implemented at CVHS, take a small amount of time to dispose of waste properly. Ask the stationed monitor where each item belongs.

“It only takes five more seconds to save the world,” said Hicken.

“The only thing that can go in the garbage is juice pouches, chip bags, plastic bags, and all utensils. That’s the bulk of it,” said monitor Alejandro Gonzalez.

In the past, Trojans have been dumping their trash into the nearest bin. This is not an option. Trash does not belong in the recycling or organics bins. The bins that are contaminated with trash are sent to the landfill. This compromises the efforts of others and wastes resources.

Although the system seems like an inconvenience now, it will become second-nature. Once CVHS disposes of waste properly, compost bins can be placed throughout the campus.

“Please take the time to read and be aware. You might not think it affect you, but in the long run, it does,” said ASB Leadership Environmental Affairs Commissioner Rojae Miller.