Don’t Bottle Up Your Recycling Concerns!


An overflowing trash bin in the MacDuffie cafeteria.

Sophie Sharp, Social Media Editor

At one time or another we have all dumped recycling in the trash, likely due to a combination of the convenient location of the trash bin and a submission to laziness as we didn’t have the energy to take two extra steps to the little blue bin in the far corner of the room. However, much of the MacDuffie community is unaware of how careless we are when it comes to the proper methods of dispensing waste and recycling.

When Cleaning Services Manager, Fabiano Coelho-Neves was asked how much recycling MacDuffie goes through each week she shook her head disappointedly and responded that “it’s very little.” According to Coelho-Neves, just one typical house-sized container of paper recycling and one container of plastic recycling is used by the entire school each week.

Part of the problem is that the MacDuffie community doesn’t always clean out their recycling or know what’s appropriate to go into the bins. Clean flat cardboard is recyclable but a used coffee cup or pizza box is not,” said Business Manager Andrew Parker.

When recycling is contaminated, it must go into the trash; according to Coelho-Neves, this happens frequently. If a recycling bin is contaminated with food of any sort it must all be thrown out.

Parker admits that this is not just an issue of student and faculty cooperation. “We’ve had issues in the past where staff members were not properly trained in sorting recycling and we are actually continuing to have limited isolated issues where occasionally we will find garbage in a recycling bin,” he said. Luckily, all of the maintenance staff at MacDuffie are now properly trained and this issue is being resolved.

This is the first year that MacDuffie is directly employing cleaning staff. Prior to the 2017-2018 school year, cleaning staff members were employed by an outside company and worked at MacDuffie as well as many other facilities. The alteration was made in the hopes that the maintenance staff would feel like a more recognized aspect of the MacDuffie community, leading to an increased investment in their work. Low satisfaction marks that students, faculty, and staff gave in response to the buildings cleanliness additionally showed a need for change.

Coelho-Neves is ready to hatch a plan. Each bottle is worth five cents when brought into a recycling facility. Coelho-Neves would like for students to collect these bottles and then donate the money to a homeless shelter or perhaps use the money for a graduation party. “Try to encourage them to donate for people or even for themselves,” Coelho-Neves said, noting that a collection of little amounts can go a long way.

Coelho-Neve’s concerns go beyond financial aspects of the school community. “It’s not really the money, it’s more for the environment,” she emphasized. “For our world.”


Updated November 7, 2017. We erroneously referred to Coelho-Neve’s as the Director of Cleaning Services instead of the Cleaning Services Manager and to the cleaning staff as maintenance staff.