Taking On the Trash

Student recycles reusable waste

Rhylan Stern, Staff Writer

With finals coming up, students have been preparing for tests, but those taking Field Biology have spent the second quarter working on a project to improve the world.

Mr. [Kale] Mann wanted us to do a final project because he doesn’t believe we will get anything out of the test — he wanted us to get out into the world and find something that we are passionate about to make the world a better place,”senior Rebecca Tonkin said. “It’s really cool because you can get more out of it. You’re never going to remember what was on your history final junior year, but you will remember giving back and that feeling of helping others and how doing a good deed can go such a far way.”

To complete this project, Tonkin found something she liked and took things into her own hands to help improve the world.

“I’m volunteering at Overland Park Trash [and] Recycling Center, which [is] a drop off recycling center that provides a place for those who do not use curbside recycling to dispose of a useful waste,” Tonkin said. “I’ll get handed cardboard, paper, glass, plastic, office papers, magazines, scrap metals — anything that can be recycled. Then I will grab it and put it in different groups and categories based on things that are being recycled.”

By doing this small task, Tonkin is improving the world one step at a time.

“[Climate change] is a topic that’s really close and important to me and I feel as if recycling is something everyone says they do, but they don’t really put too much depth into how important it is to recycle,” Tonkin said. “The reason why recycling is so important is because it prevents pollution, saves energy and money and reduces greenhouse gas emission, which helps to tackle climate change. There’s just so many benefits to recycling [and it’s] a really good way to just give back and help.”

Although Tonkin enjoys the work, it is not always fun and games.

“I wouldn’t say that it [was] hard to complete — the only difficult thing is finding time to complete it,” Tonkin said. “But in the end, when you find the time to complete it, there’s an inner joy that comes along with doing it because you’re just helping. You’re helping them make the world a better place.”

Other than leaving an impact on the environment, it left an impact on Tonkin.

“I would definitely do something like this again because I feel [like] giving back is so important,” Tonkin said. “It’s an unexplainable inner joy that you get from helping others and doing something so small and how it impacts so many others — to see that domino effect goes a lot further than you would think.”

Infographic by Rhylan Stern