Sustainability in MMS


Aadit Shrivastava

Millburn Middle School added recycling bins to the cafeteria. This is great considering that the paper trays used for cafeteria food and other non-reusable but recyclable materials brought by students for lunch were thrown into the garbage disposal before. This should be a step that should be good in terms of sustainability and reducing waste.

Unfortunately, many students seem to be lethargic while eating in the cafeteria and make the difficult [but not really difficult] decision to throw what should be waste into the recycling bins. This is actually extremely detrimental for the environment. Not only is the waste not recyclable, it damages the recycling equipment within the facilities. In particular, food causes contamination within facilities and can cause major shut downs.

On the brighter side of the spectrum, there are also ways students can take initiative in terms of recycling and apply talents from a seemingly completely different area. The Peer Leader group DECO focuses on using “junk” and recycling it in the form of art. The central focus of DECO is “how we [DECO] can take the junk and transform in into something new,” according to the DECO brochure. Some examples of how they do this is their participation in PepsiCo Recycling contests, the importance of the Essex County Environmental Center and how a member from the center also comes to do a presentation, and just creating art to share with the MMS community. Recently, they have added a slide on the Morning Announcements talking about how one can reuse glass jars as food containers or as decorative pieces.

The bigger idea is that with the effects of industrialization, humanity cannot just depend on advancing technology and scientists doing research to solve the global crisis we are in and the sub-crises caused by it. Each person has to themselves take accountability of their carbon footprint and then take proactive steps to lower it. Only then can humans successfully solve the dilemma that urbanization has caused, making not just humans but also animals, plants, and all forms of life bear the consequences of climate change, pollution, and other such global issues.