Everyday at Winslow High School, kids and faculty use and dispose of cans, bottles and pounds of paper that end-up in the landfill. This is also indicative of waste by the rest of Winslow and students at the high school are becoming more proactive about recycling.
This local recycling movement began after the Grand Canyon Youth at Winslow High became involved in various community service projects, of which they were required to do eight hours, but 9th grader Fiana Torres decided that her service needed to go above and beyond that of the average student. She has gone about 3 weeks over her minimum time and still goes around after school everyday to collect the recyclables.
"We need to save this planet because the landfills are filling up fast and we need to help solve this problem," Torres said.
She is a student of WHS Integrated Math teacher John Napier who was also on the recent Grand Canyon trip with the kids. In Napier's class, the kids discussed how much plastic Pepsi leaves behind at the school and integrated that into learning math. Torres said this was a good lesson.
She began by asking the custodians and kids to please place their cans or plastic next to the trash cans so she can collect them later. She said the custodians do not mind and more kids have been complying to her request too.
"A couple of other students have helped a little bit, but they get busy with other things and I mostly do this alone. Still it is better than just going home and doing nothing," she said.
Torres has made a few recycling signs for the classrooms and that has gone over well so she plans on making more. She also said, if the kids had separate containers for recyclables they would probably use them.
Frank Gomez, the Winslow High club president for Grand Canyon Youth, has also been active with Torres on this project. He has been talking to Principal Doug Watson and Mayor Allen Affeldt about recycling.
"We started with the city and they told us to talk to Waste Management. So we went to Waste Management and they told us to talk to the city," said Watson.
The City of Winslow does not have a formal recycling program currently, but they do have an alternative. Councilwoman Dee Rodriguez began working years ago to establish a recycling program for the city, and she received a grant to purchase the blue and green recycling trailers that are parked around town. These trailers or community bins are picked up by the City of Winslow every other week and hauled to Flagstaff's Norton Recycling facility.
Winslow signed in an intergovernmental agreement with Flagstaff that allows Winslow to dispose at the Norton facility. Norton leases their property and building from the City of Flagstaff for $1 a year and in-return, Flagstaff residents get curbside recycling pick-up for a reduced rate since Norton is profiting from the recyclable materials collected.
"When Norton sales recyclables back to the market, Flagstaff get 50 percent of the revenue back according to their agreement. Of the recyclable material Winslow sends, we get 40 percent of the worth back and 10 percent is paid to the City of Flagstaff," said Allen Rosenbaum, utility director for the City of Winslow.
Winslow's share of this profit from material collected from the local community bins between January to September of '03 was $722, not even enough for the gas or wage of the person who has to haul it to Flagstaff.
Over a month ago, Waste Management Municipal Marketing Manager Cathy Mitchell came to Council to discuss the option of curbside recycling for Winslow residents that would coincide with regular trash pick-ups. The most prominent idea at the meeting was to possibly change the twice-a-week garbage pick-ups to be reduced to once-a-week and then pick-up recyclables in front of residents' homes once a week. If Council decided to go forward with this program it would cost residents an additional $2.64 a month. The city would also have to hire another employee at the utility department at a salary of about $30,000 a year to haul the materials to Norton on a regular basis.
Rosenbaum is currently working on the numbers to the city to figure-out the cost to the city and then he will present the item to be discussed and possibly decided on by Council.
While the city works on the possibility for this program, local students are helping to increase the collected supply of recyclables for the community bins.
"If we can get this recycle program going, it would be expected that it would filter down to the other schools in the district," Watson said.
He said the kids would be the ones to do all the work at the schools; whereby, they could collect the recyclables from the bins and deliver them to the community bins
"The beauty of this is that we have over 850 teenagers and with an incredible amount of energy to make things happen."