Maybe We’re not as Eco Conscious as we Think

Scappoose High School owes it to it’s students to preserve the planet they live on with reusable kitchen ware.

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Maybe We’re not as Eco Conscious as we Think

Aurora Stanley

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Scappoose High School has finally began to keep pace with modern eco-friendly measures that schools across the country have begun to utilize.


In some ways this is amazing. Our school has low flush toilets, recycling bins in every room, and water dispensers that encourage students to utilize reusable options. But in other ways it falls short, such as in the cafeteria. Our high school has continued to use styrofoam plates and plastic silverware, which hundreds of students eat off of and throw away daily. This is detrimental on both a micro and macro level, as not only is it part of a larger problem of excess global waste, but it is also teaching students poor environmental consciousness. This in turn leads to a lifelong impact that not only current high school students have to live with, but that future generations have to endure. Which is only made worse by the negative habits instilled in students now, making them more likely to practice bad habits as adults and inadvertently teach them to their children.


There are currently 762 students at Scappoose High School. Now to lowball let’s say that half of those students eat school lunch every day, not even mentioning breakfast. If 381 students eat lunch every day that is 381 styrofoam plates and plastic silverware being thrown away everyday, which is 1,905 per week, and 68,580 in the average school year. That is just plates and silverware, that one half of the SHS students would produce in a single year.


Each of these plates weigh about 10 grams, and each fork/spoon/knife weight about one gram. So if we use 68,580 plates and 68,580 plastic pieces of silverware that is over 1,663 pounds of just plates and silverware that Scappoose High School throws out over the course of a school year. Now we all know that more than half of students buy lunch every day, and a great number of them buy breakfast, and that there is also waste from milk cartons, chip bags, and uneaten food that is thrown away.


Scappoose High School is a small school, there are schools where their graduating class has more students than our entire school. And many of these schools nationwide throw out trash like Scappoose High School does. Think about all of the millions if not more tons of trash schools are pushing out only to end up in oceans or landfills. Now I am not saying that high schools produce more trash than anyone else, or that they are out to kill the environment. I am saying that they owe it to the students they teach to preserve the planet these kids will have to live on, to maintain a planet long enough for students to use what they teach us. They owe it to the students to not teach them to produce excess waste and reinforce these negative habits.


The solution for this is something we all know. Now I would suggest more students bring a lunch from home, but for many that is unrealistic. So I want to ask you to remember when we were at Grant Watts or Peterson and we had those cute little plastic trays, and actual metal silverware. Things that were reused instead of thrown away. Now I know a lot of you will jump and say that it is unreasonable as there would be the initial price of buying the trays and a higher water bill as the school would have to wash them daily. But think about how much money the school will save no longer buying these plastic and styrofoam items, how much less the trash bill would be, and the impact that it could make on the future of our planet.