Improving the Environment Day by Day at Silver Creek High School


Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Dupre

Models made by Eco-club, placed in the cafeteria, inform students what goes in each bin.

After finishing lunch, students are faced with the big three: trash, compost, and recycling bins. It’s up to students to correctly sort out waste. A community recycling processor aims to achieve zero-waste communities and keep a clean healthy environment. The new system, Eco-Cycle, is at Silver Creek High School, helping keep the environment fresh day by day.

Eco-Cycle is one of the largest and oldest non-profit recyclers and Zero Waste organizations in the United States. The organization upholds their international reputation of being a pioneer and innovator in resource conversation. This is unique to other companies due to its overwhelming sense of one-on-one first hand waste processing. It is essentially up to each student to create a wave of change through coming together to support the environment. They established their company in 1976 in Boulder, Colorado, making it one of the first 20 communities to offer curbside recycling.

“Eco Club at Silver Creek had been planning and organizing to become a Green Star school for almost four years,” says Barbara Keith, head of the Environmental club at Silver Creek High School.

The Green Star Schools program hosts special events around zero-waste and recycling efforts. Green Star Schools are known as the first in the nation to reduce waste in every aspect of their school setting. Becoming a Green Star school reflects the community’s will to keep the environment clean. A lot of schools, in Longmont and Boulder, including Silver Creek, take pride in this achievement. Being a Green Star school comes hand-in-hand with Eco-Cycle.

Recycling processor organizations like Eco-Cycle, have its ups and downs. Clearly, the benefits from dividing trash make for a cleaner environment, but what happens when trash isn’t distributed properly? The trash that was displaced will end up negatively impacting the environment and ultimately results in adding to the pollution in the environment. Making this process take go in the opposite direction we want and need to go in.

How are schools certain that trash is distributed properly? Truthfully, it has been an ongoing struggle.

“Dividing trash is hard at first, but Silver Creek does a great job of helping you. It gets easier over time,” says Lila Johnson, sophomore at Silver Creek. The cafeteria has models that tell you exactly what goes into each bin. The dream is that each person uses this to their advantage. However, the reality is that there will be people who do and some who don’t.

“Eco-Cycle is a way to make sure our ecosystem is better for the future” says Johnson, “The models that Silver Creek provides are really helpful to know that I’m putting stuff in the right spot.”

Aside from these problems, the benefits of Eco-Cycle outweigh the cons tremendously. According to the Eco-Cycle website, the organization helps “Students to learn to think critically about their own resource use and how they can conserve natural resources, reduce waste, and protect our environment”. The partnership between Silver Creek and Green Star schools adds an additional 1,414 students striving towards not only a healthier school environment, but a healthier Earth overall.

Eco-Cycle is a very important and significant addition to Silver Creek. With this addition, students are taught in their most influential parts of their life how crucial the health of the environment truly is.