All four Harker campuses began using a new waste disposal system today, separating compostable trash from non-compostable material.
The new system is a program of the Santa Clara County branch of Republic Services, a national waste services provider. Republic Services teamed up with the Upper School’s Green Committee, a group of environmentally-conscious teachers led by Dr. Kate Schafer, to improve recycling efficiency.
Mixed trash bins have been replaced with pairs of bins, one green and one blue. The bins are intended for “wet” (compostable) and “dry” (non-compostable) materials respectively.
To some, the wet-dry system proved unnecessarily confusing, especially when waste items contained compostable and non-compostable materials. For example, several students were thrown off by today’s soiled paper trays with foil-wrapped bean burritos from the Fresh Mex station.
“When in doubt, throw waste in the ‘dry’ bin,” said math teacher Dr. Victor Adler, who announced the new system at today’s school meeting. Student Council and faculty explained the new trash system in the video below
Most students were aided through their waste disposal process by two waste-monitoring teachers and posted diagrams made by the Office of Communications. The amount of support allowed for a smooth transition, according to Nikita Kosobolov (10).
“It’s more eco-friendly, and there’s not really any harm done,” Nikita said. “It’s not difficult to throw trash in another place.”
Other students faced a steeper learning curve.
“I think the naming is confusing, because you have dry things going into the ‘wet’ bin and wet things going into the ‘dry’ bin,” Maya Nandakumar (11) said.
The naming systems are proposed by Republic Services, according to Dr. Schafer, an AP Environmental Science teacher.
“I think it’s just getting straight what it means to be ‘wet,’” she said. “It doesn’t have to have liquid on it to become wet, it just needs to be able to become dirt.”
Diana Moss, Spanish teacher and Green Committee member, saw compostable food being thrown into the dry waste bins when supervising the bussing station today.
“If we can get the composting piece down, perhaps one day we’ll even be able to compost here for use in our own gardens,” Moss said. “With time and continued education, students and faculty will all be well-trained to deal with their trash.”
Teachers will continue monitoring the bussing station for the rest of the week.