Trash and Recycling in Irvington

Fiona Zhao, Staff Writer

According to Republic Service Recycle Representative Maria Mendoza, Allied Waste picks up 16.58 tons of trash, 10.40 tons of recycling, and 4.88 tons of compost from Irvington monthly.

However, most students’ knowledge of Irvington’s outlook in terms of waste hails largely from their science classes. While studying ocean plastic pollution, Ms. Anand’s AP Environmental Science classes participated in Ocean Conservancy’s yearly October Coastal Cleanup, an hour-long campus clean-up. Hauling in about 60 pounds, 91.6 percent of the trash was identified as non-biodegradable plastic, while a predominant 54.6 percent were carelessly thrown food wrappers left on campus grounds.

“And it basically congregates: both bits and bits of plastic all around Irvington. If you look in the storm drains, you can see that it’s very disgusting inside,” AP Environmental Science and Biology teacher Ms. Anand said. “Since Fremont borders a creek, the plastic that fly into the storm drains go directly there, directly affecting the surrounding ecosystem.”

In the 2009 nationwide contest sponsored by IC Bus Company, Irvington was recognized as “America’s Greenest School” for diverting over 100,000 pounds of e-waste from landfills, installing solar panels, hosting a community green fair, among other efforts.

Since then, ASB has established the position of “Go-Green Commissioner”, who is responsible for campus beautification and ensuring that the school is kept green. This year’s commissioner, junior Maya Lu, works alongside Mr. Canavero in the Green Advisory, which holds daily meetings in Room 61 during Advisory. While the Green Advisory works to install and maintain water fountains across the campus, little is done to regulate recycling but the occasional district meeting.

Though 32.6 percent of waste picked up from Irvington is considered recycling, little is known of how much of that waste actually belong in the correct bin.

“I’ve been noticing non-recyclables contaminating the recycling bins,” Anand said.

To combat excessive waste in the school, according to senior Sabrina Liu, students in Anand’s AP Environmental Science classes are not allowed to bring disposable plastic bottles to class. Through small efforts collectively implemented within the classroom and community, Irvington may hope to return to its former glory.