Green Team Meets With School Committee to Discuss Recycling Habits


Green Team student representatives Nathan Schnaider, Rohit Josyula, Jeni Atallah, Brigham Byerly, Thomas Knoth and Matt Ferarro pose in the meeting room at the Walpole Police Station.

Student representatives from the Walpole High School Green Team gave an informational presentation to the Walpole School Committee at the Walpole Police Station on Feb. 5 on how to improve the school’s recycling habits.

The Green Team began their presentation with the introduction of their club objectives and goals including to educate students and members of the community of environmental issues and how to work together to combat them. The students urged their stance against single use plastics and littering as a result of their love for a clean and healthy environment.

“I think these students are genuinely concerned about the dangerous path we humans are headed down if we don’t start looking at our wasteful, disposable society and begin to make some serious changes,” special education teacher and Green Team adviser Karen Baumgartner said.

The students gave a miniature quiz to the school committee members on how to properly recycle items such as a greasy pizza box, a paper bag and a plastic iced coffee cup.  They then showed several photos of environmental devastation that can result from improper waste handling such a Ozone layer depletion, excess greenhouse gas, deforestation and the destruction of natural habitats.

The students recognized the positives of WHS’ current recycling system. A recycling bin and trash bin are present in every classroom in the school and are emptied at the end of every week. Recycling bins can also be found in the cafeteria, library and computer labs. The materials recycled by the school are strictly plastic bottles, cans and paper.

Despite the already enforced recycling policy, the Green Team challenged the school committee members to work cohesively with the high school to drastically cut down on their use of plastic. The students urged that although the harmful habits of recycling in Walpole is miniscule compared to the entire scope of such a global issue, the community is still contributing to the problem.

We see massive landfills in not just Walpole but around the country and world. When people recycle, the materials of that recycled object will get repurposed and made into something else,” Green Team President and junior Thomas Knoth said. “But due to the lack of recycling, this process is happening less and less, costing our country more money and land space to find a place to keep all of that material that could have been recycled.”

The Green Team wishes to continue spreading their concern for improper waste handling through the Recycle Small More Altogether Right Today (SMART)Program, a program that focuses on expanding the availability of recycling channels in Walpole and provides residents with countless options to recycle and dispose of waste properly. Recycle SMART encourages people to compress their items so even more recyclables can fit in their bins. The program also urges residents to be up to date with the town curbside pickup schedule and to separate trash from recyclables.

The Green Team strives to eventually ban all single-use plastic water bottles in the high school, build a community garden to educate students about the importance of natural foods and continue to inspire students and families to be conscious of the environment.

“Anyone can recycle. As a group, we are recycling, one individual cannot represent the town of Walpole. We must work together to make a difference,” Green Team Event Coordinator and junior Matt Ferraro said.  


Green Team president Thomas Knoth challenges those attending the meeting to completely stop using plastic water bottles.