The Student News Site of Homewood High School

The Homewood Tricorne

The Homewood Tricorne

The Student News Site of Homewood High School

The Homewood Tricorne

HHS recycling program thrown out with trash

School searching for ways to bring recycling back after a year in limbo
Empty+recycling+bins+lining+the+sidewalk+at+the+back+of+HHS.
Mary Clare Ingram
Empty recycling bins lining the sidewalk at the back of HHS.

This school year began with 16 rolling recycling bins lining the sidewalk behind HHS, emptied for the summer without a program to utilize them. 

This summer, the city of Homewood switched from Republic Services to Amwaste to manage its recycling. This coincided with the retirement of AP Environmental Science teacher, Melonie McBrayer, who was the Environmental Club sponsor and headed up the recycling program. 

“Before Republic, I was recycling in my classroom and the science pod and taking that home,” McBrayer said.

McBrayer coordinated the recycling bins around the school to collect the countless recyclable paper and plastic products used by the students and faculty of HHS every day. She also communicated with Republic Services when the school schedule changed. 

McBrayer said she didn’t know that the city’s switch to Amwaste would impact the high school.

The two events coincided, leaving HHS without the personnel and services to continue the recycling program into the 2023-24 school year. 

HHS Principal Dr. Joel Henneke said that the school was worked into Republic’s route with the city, without a separate contract with the school.

He said that the current conflict is not having a service to come to the school to pick up the recycling, since the Amwaste contract doesn’t extend to HHS.

All disposable products this year have gone to the system’s trash pickup service, Waste Management.

The school’s contract with Waste Management expires this summer. 

This spring will begin a new bidding process where waste pickup services will put in their bid to be the school system’s waste management company based on the list of the system’s needs.

Dr. Zachary Barnes, Homewood City Schools’ Director of Operations, indicated that recycling will not be a request on that list this spring. 

However, he said that if the bidding company offers recycling services, it could be a component of the new contract. 

Aside from the lack of service, he said that the main issue is not having a staff member to take on the role that McBrayer played in recycling. 

“There may be people willing to do it, they just need direction to get it done,” Barnes said.

Liz Shults, HHS English teacher, began her first year at Homewood taking on the Environmental Club sponsor position following McBrayer’s retirement. 

She said that the three club officers, all students, have been designated different concentrations, one of which being recycling. 

Shults said they are still in the early stages of communication with the Homewood Board of Education.

Barnes said that if each principal is an advocate and makes sure it’s done, as well as has someone who is in charge of recycling, it can be done efficiently throughout the school system.

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