“We already tackled water,” said Rebecca Weissman, Oceanside High School’s CARE Club president. “So now we’re on to paper.”
CARE, which stands for Community Activists Recovering Earth, helped get water refill stations installed at the high school last year. The new fountains encouraged more students, faculty and staff to use refillable water bottles, decreasing plastic bottle waste, according to the club’s adviser, earth science teacher Jeanette Wolfson.
Now CARE has started a “Green Grades” initiative to increase paper recycling at the school. During midterms week in mid-January, the group left large bins in the front lobby for students and teachers to dispose of used paper.
“Especially during midterms week, paper disposal is quadrupled and is excessive,” Weissman said. “All kids had to do is use the paper, take their test and bring their paper in when they were done with their midterms.”
Ultimately, Weissman took 100 pounds to a recycling station after the project was complete. This included paper that students and staff recycled after midterms, as well as packets recycled later that week when the high school hosted a Model Congress event.
The paper that students use accumulates most around test-taking time, when they’re using study guides, flashcards and packets to review for tests, Weissman said. She and CARE will continue the initiative during finals week in June, when, she said, she expects an even larger collection of recycled paper.
To promote Green Grades, the group collaborated with broadcasting teacher Audrey Miller to create a video explaining how students could recycle during that week. Teachers then showed the video to their students during class. In addition, CARE created a contest for students to create a photo or video about the initiative and post it to social media. The winner received a hydro flask, stainless steel water bottle.
“That was fun and encouraged a lot more people to participate,” Weissman said.
She added that Green Grades was “a school collaboration,” with Wolfson, CARE’s 50 student members and nine board members, Principal Geraldine De Carlo and others pitching in to spread awareness.