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School Waste Increases Due to COVID Precautions

COVID-19 sparked a rush for plastic and cardboard, showing that COVID has a bigger impact on our world than most people think.    

“I’ve seen many things in school, and my work environment changed. Some things I have seen change was definitely more packaging and more plastic and cardboard. There has been definitely more garbage now having to have disposable and everything packaged up,” cook Laurel Larson said.

Almost everywhere you look, things are packaged in a way that follows safety precautions. Due to having to follow these safety precautions, waste has been rising drastically. 

“Lunch-times with COVID has added lots of waste without using trays. I’d like to say we are averaging four times the waste into the dumpster by using boxed and plastic containers for lunch,” said custodian Brian Lakowske.

The increase in waste takes the school in the opposite direction many staff and students, especially Green Team, have been working toward over the last several years. 

“There is a bigger impact. The napkins and water bottles and plastic forks and spoons. We also have to usually put the food in containers or in some type of wrapping, so it really adds up with a good majority of the students taking school lunch,” said Larson.

Research says “Now, thanks to near-nationwide lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus, residential waste volumes have increased 30 percent, according to Republic Services, one of the largest waste management collection companies in the United States.”

“There is a bigger impact the napkins and water bottles and plastic forks and spoons. We also have to usually put the food in containers or in some type of wrapping so it really adds up with a good majority of the students taking school lunch,” said Larson. 

Making things more aware to students can definitely be a struggle, but there are some ways many people can think of for helping students be more aware of how much garbage they have been using since COVID.

Some ways that can make people more aware of how much garbage they are using is to look in the garbage after you are done eating and to see how much plastic waste is in there. Another way that you could make it more aware of how much waste is being used in the school is to talk to other students about it.

“I think us students need to just obey the rules of being six feet apart and keeping our masks up like we are supposed to so this COVID won’t be as bad as it is, and if we do that we have a much higher hope of getting regular lunches back so we will be using less garbage,” said sophomore Sophia Batista.

Many people knew that COVID was not going to help to keep things on the low for how much garbage we are having to use especially with research showing that the numbers rasing from the last year. 

“I think if I were able to show the difference between pre-COVID and now, with the amounts of garbage that we consume, somebody would get the drift that 4x the waste is not going to better this planet any and maybe something could get done.  I do however understand the circumstances of less stuff being touched to stay safe from getting Covid.  I do hope this passes and everything gets back to normal,” said Lakowske.

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