Dear Mr. President and Mr. Vice President:
Congratulations for opening this important dialogue!
As a former MA & GA Teacher, and now a current DC Public School Teacher, I have been appalled at the enormous waste generated by our public schools, nation-wide.
I have worked with my principal for 2 years, trying to get a simple recycling program started in our building. We asked the Mayor's office, the DOE, and even private foundations for assistance. No one stepped up to help.
Our huge building houses 2 schools, yet there is not one recycling bin in the entire building, or one recycling dumpster on the premises. Let me give you some examples of the prolific waste generated by our schools:
For breakfast, our students get two sealed bags of food, such as "pop-tarts" or "goldfish crackers" on a styrofoam tray. They eat the food, which never touches the styrofoam trays, and then they discard the unused styrofoam tray! INSANE! ( And also terrible for the environment.) That is 90,000 mostly-unused styrofoam trays discarded DAILY, in DCPS alone.
Teachers and administrators use an inordinate amount of paper, plastic, ink, art supplies and consummable technology, with no way of disposing it responsibly. No wonder our students treat the building, and our planet, like a trash can.
Requiring responsible recycling of school consummables is not just a way to save millions of dollars; it is an environmental and fiscal investment in our future and a great way to educate our children----by example. The government needs to require and provide recycling bins and removal services for paper, plastic, glass and techno-products, (like printing ink & containers) in all public schools! This would create thousands of "green" jobs, with minimal or no training involved. The government would then have a windfall of free, recyclable materials at their disposal, (pun intended.)
Thank you for your time and consideration of my proposal.
JLK, MAT, DC Public Schools