Re-cycling our efforts: After years without, middle school class creates new recycling program

For years now, GCAA has been without an official recycling program. Despite several efforts in the past, large amounts of potentially recyclable materials are taken out with trash each day. The students in middle school science teacher Cassandra Lentz’s Green Machine class believe they have a solution.


Christopher Corriveau

A decorative tree outside the cafeteria, made of signed pledges to recycle by students of GCAA.

Christopher Corriveau, Staff Writer

As Kermit the Frog famously said, “It’s not easy being green.”

While the student-run Green Machine class has been typically associated with the vertical gardens growing produce, it has a broader goal to make the school a cleaner and more sustainable place. To achieve that, they have rolled out a school-wide recycling program. Officially beginning on October 1st, the program is organized and ran entirely by the students in Cassandra Lentz’s middle school science class.

“I think the key is to get the students invested in it and to keep it going via faculty retention,” Lentz said.

The Green Machine students were trained by Brightside St. Louis at the beginning of September. The training consisted of a presentation on the benefits of recycling, the methods of sorting and recycling different materials and a recycling-based activity.

Following that training, representatives from the class made their own presentations, which were presented to the student body during assemblies.

The recycling program is not their only goal for this year. Among Green Machine’s projects for this year are composting and unusual recyclables. This will allow the school to recycle things such as organic matter, ink cartridges and toner, and plastic bags, glue, and art supplies.

“We have a chance to be more sustainable as a school,” Lentz said. “I believe it’s something everyone should be doing.”