Reverse Vending Machine

by Emma Burstiner

On November 9, a new addition was made to the GHS Student Center. A reverse vending machine was added alongside the food and water vending machines. Instead of depositing money into the machine, students deposit their empty plastic water bottles.

When the bottle is inserted into the machine, it is condensed into a cube of recycled plastic. The bottle must be inserted into the machine with the barcode facing up.

Envipco, the private company which makes these machines, picks up the condensed bottles to be recycled. This will ensure that the water bottles are being recycled properly, and therefore will reduce the school’s unnecessary waste.

The deposit money received by the school when the condensed plastic is picked up pays for the rent of the machine. The remaining money goes toward funding the Environmental Action Club.

The PTA agreed to purchase this machine with the end goal of lowering the carbon footprint of GHS. A high quantity of water bottles bought by students go into the the trash, but recycling them would greatly aid in making GHS more sustainable. It takes at least 450 years for a plastic water to partially decompose, and during this time, the plastic’s harmful chemicals can leak into the earth. This machine can help by preventing this massive amount of waste every day.

When asked members of the Environmental Action Club were asked whether they think students will use the machine, many responded positively.

Luke Meyers, a member of the club, stated: “I think they will, but I think people just need to know that it’s there … you see it but you don’t really understand what it does or why it’s there.”

Rachel Alliker, the Vice President of the Environmental Action Club, said that she thinks students should and will use the machine seeing “the incentive to reduce the amount of plastic in our community.”

Another club member, Isabelle Harper, said, “I think that it is a step towards 100% sustainability!” Similarly to Luke, though, she felt that actively enforcing recycling would compel students to use the machine and be “more green” than before.

In the past, the Environmental Action Club has attempted to manage the recycling of bottles by adding recycling cans around the school and sorting through the bags of collected material to remove non-reusable trash. This is a difficult and time consuming process. Now, this reverse vending machine is an easy, quick way for students and faculty to properly recycle. It is the perfect solution if bringing a reusable bottle is not possible.

Another easy way for students to help the environment and reduce the carbon footprint at GHS is through the composting program run by the Environmental Action Club in the Cardinal Cafe. This is a place for students to dispose of all fruit and vegetable matter in the student center’s green bins. This food product then decomposes and forms soil, which can be used in the the GHS Roots and Shoots community garden. It is located in large wooden containers just outside of the school.

Please help reduce the carbon footprint of GHS by depositing fruits and vegetables into the compost and utilizing this new recycling vending machine – no water bottles should go in the trash.

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