Talking Trash


Clarisa Russenberger, Photo Editor

Last year, I was fortunate enough to travel to the Philippines for a youth congress. While I was there, I volunteered cleaning polluted beaches and was astounded by what I saw. With garbage so deep it passed my calves, my entire perspective on the pollution crisis changed. I cleaned this beach with hundreds of other youth. Even after working for hours and filling up many large garbage bags it didn’t seem as though we had even dented the surface of this problem.
Since then, I have been trying to make my life more sustainable and I try to influence others to do the same. So, when I realized that my own school has little initiative regarding eco-friendliness, I was concerned.
Now, many people have tried to refute my argument by pointing at a recycling bin or the electric car chargers outside and saying- look, we’re eco-friendly. However, one recycling bin every few thousand feet and a handful of electric car chargers that are rarely used hardly meets the mark. Schoolcraft lacks even the bare necessities to call itself an eco-friendly school.
Another look to Henry’s and Schoolcraft’s seeming indifference to its environmental impact is evident. The to-go containers are made out of Styrofoam, a product that can sit in a landfill for centuries and is not recycled by Clean Lites, the company Schoolcraft recycles with. Students take their food to-go whether or not they are eating in the cafeteria, making Henry’s Styrofoam consumption deplorable. If Schoolcraft chooses to use Styrofoam in its cafeteria, it needs to take responsibility and make sure said Styrofoam is properly disposed of. Clean Lites refusal regarding the recycling of Styrofoam does not give Schoolcraft an ‘out.’ Schoolcraft needs to find a recycling company that can process Styrofoam, or if that is unreasonable, the use of Styrofoam in the cafeteria should be stopped altogether.
I wrote a letter with very similar points to Dr. Jeffress a few weeks ago and commend him for his quick response. However, I think it is important for all students and staff to understand the necessity of an eco-friendlier school, and the ease at which we can attain said eco-friendliness. Something as small as using our own water bottles, or putting recycling bins in classrooms have an enormous impact.
Back in late August, I attended the presentation by president and CEO of Consumers Energy, Patti Poppe gave on campus about Consumers Energy. She discussed all of the green initiatives her company is taking. It is amazing that her company is taking these initiatives, however cleaning our planet can not only be left to large companies and schools. Therefore, I cannot place the blame entirely on Schoolcraft College. Whether it be using refillable cups for our drinks, or making sure we know what is recyclable and what isn’t, the responsibility falls on every person to leave the earth in a better place than how they found it.
For more information on recycling in Michigan check out For a more entertaining lesson, check out the Raccoon Recycling Squad on YouTube.