On Feb. 9, 2017, Advanced Placement environmental science students participated in a trash project, where they carried around trash bags and collected waste in the time span of seven days. Assigned by AP environmental science teacher Tammy Orilio, the students learned the outstanding number of trash they had collected from the ground, under desks and outside and to always remember to keep the environment clean.
“It’s very environmentally conscious and beneficial for not only students, but teachers also. I will prepare by getting trash bags and working it into my everyday life. I already feel a difference in the way I think when I’m eating lunch. I am now more cautious with the trash I produce,” junior Elise Etheridge said.
Orilio teaches students about protecting the environment whether the students are in her AP environmental class or not. Orilio started this project last year after exam week for the first time. Given that this was a project for students in her class, she was taking this as a project grade.
“I heard about this project from another APES teacher who suggested it, and I think it has great value because it makes the students consider all the trash they produce in a single day, week, year and hopefully, change their ways. On the seventh and final day of the project, we’ll mass each person’s trash, then sort it into the six major categories: paper, plastic, glass, aluminum, styrofoam and miscellaneous. I had them make predictions before we started about which category they’d have the most of, ” Orilio said.
Over email, Orilio reached out to teachers asking for support and to keep an eye out on the students that were participating in each class. Teachers and staff asked students if they were a part of this project. Students also talked to their peers about the event and even students who don’t take AP environmental science have also reached out and started being more cautious as they have seen other students walk around with their own trash bag.
“This project has made me realize not only how much trash I produce but the amount that those around me produce,” senior Mariana Castillo said. “It has been an extremely eyeopening experience. After the project, I think I am more aware of what i’m using and if it is really necessary. I am trying to improve by using less disposable plates, cups, etc. People walking around who have seen me with my bag and they ask me what its for. I try to make people realize that we are all constantly producing unnecessarily large amounts of trash.”