The Recycling Fiasco

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To go along with the “Go Green” trend a recycling competition was set up in school. Which ever grade that could collect the most cans in a week and a half would win a pizza party. Over the course of the competition it became a war between the juniors and the seniors. The competition got completely blown out of proportion. It was no longer about the pizza nor the environment but it was about the bragging rights.

The way the competition worked was that each grade had a cardboard box with a big hole through which one would discard his or her plastic bottles. This hole is sometimes unmonitored which leaves a window for cheating. All you have to do is take some bottles out of one grade’s box when nobody is looking and put them in your own. To minimize the cheating the organizers tried to keep close tabs on the boxes. Also, if anybody saw someone cheating out of their box, they would report the nefarious crime to the organizers. When ever someone stole from a grade’s box, the rough amount that was stolen was given back to the victims of the crime. This adding and subtracting of bottles made the job as a coordinator very difficult and annoying.

Another problem was the quantity of bottles. As everybody knows, the seniors are a very competitive group of kids. The seniors brought a whole new ambience to the competition. They saw that the juniors were collecting a lot of bottles so they had to collect even more. It was this competitiveness that made the competition a little ridiculous. The juniors wanted to beat the seniors at all costs and vise versa. People were bringing in bottles by the hundreds, were fighting over bottles and asking teachers for their bottles. Students asked their relatives for their recycling. It was outrageous. The seniors asked Ms. Brindise for her recycling. Sam Gross (a junior) walked into school looking like a garbage man carrying over 300 bottles on his shoulders. He collected from his house, his grandparents, and his neighbors. If people would only put the same amount of effort into something productive as the amount put into this competition, the world would be a better place.

It came down to the last day of the competition. The rule was that all bottles must be handed in by 8:00 A.M. in order to be counted. This was a disadvantage to the seniors because the seniors usually come late to school. By 8:00 A.M., there were over 500 bottles lying in the hallway that belonged to the juniors. The seniors pile contained only about 200. Since the seniors thought that the deadline was unfair and that they would lose if the deadline really applied, they complained: “Just give us another half hour, please!” They wined like a bunch of babies according to the organizers. The seniors formed a long line outside of the assistant principal’s door to complain. Just to make them feel like they got something and so they would stop complaining, the organizers decided to give the seniors a second place party. The measures that people will go through to win are crazy.

Now that the juniors won and the competition is over, there are around 3,000 bottles just sitting in school. The bottles need to be transported to a place where they can be recycled. The best way to do that is to give them to students who have cars to drop these bottles off. Now, only three juniors have cars and they have taken a fare amount of bottles home. The seniors have only taken the bottles that can be cashed in for their party (and that is not that many). It is not fare to make parents take home 2,000 bottles and cans home to be recycled. It is only fare that the student body takes care of removing the waste. The seniors are not cooperating with the program. Maybe the organizers should have stipulated that the losers of the competition should be responsible for removing the bottles from school.

All in all we are fighting over a piece of plastic!





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