Environmental Knights raise awareness of recycling

Junior Charlotte Lichtenheld proposed the idea to the Environmental Knights to put signs on the recycling bins, as a campaign to raise awareness.

“I did a Girl Scout Gold Award project at Lamar last year, and part of the project was raising awareness for recycling,” Lichtenheld said. “I found signs online that had stuff about recycling, so I went to that same website, and talked to Mr.Cowles about doing it for the Environmental Knights. We printed them all out and laminated them, and put them on the bins.”

The bright green signs are there to remind students and faculty of the recycling bin guidelines.

“Recently the project that [the Environmental Knights] just finished was putting signs on the recycle cans to tell you what you can and cannot recycle,” sponsor Richard Cowles. “We feel like a lot of students and teachers don’t know that it’s single stream, that you can recycle anything.”

The club has been meeting for about 10 years since a student approached Cowles and asked him about founding an environmental club. It is now a small, tight-knit group of students.

“We kind of follow the lead of the student. It’s whatever they want,” Cowles said. “Right now [the goal of the club] is mostly school-focused. It’s a group thing. It’s a small club, so we don’t really have a need for officers.”

The club does many activities, from trips to Hornsby Bend, where the city of Austin takes plant wastes and treated sewage to turn it to “Dillo Dirt,” to fundraisers, but the goal is always to make McCallum a “green” school.

“It’s just to raise awareness on being environmental-friendly because McCallum isn’t a very environmentally friendly school,” Lichtenheld said. “We try to do some fundraisers, but I don’t know how well they have turned out because it’s a really small club.”

The club has been trying to expand and get more students involved in their efforts.

“By putting signs on the recycling bins, and there was an article in the last newspaper that mentioned it, we can kind of get our names out there, kind of like what Key Club did two years ago,” Lichtenheld said. “By doing that, more people will come. It used to be really big five years ago, but it’s kind of faded out as the original people have left.”

However, even students who aren’t in the club can help its mission.

“[Students can help by] being aware of single-stream recycling, making sure they put their paper not in the trash, but in the recycling bin,” Cowles said. “Their cans, their plastic bottles, all of that stuff should go to the recycle cans. And trying to be mindful of that not only here, but at home as well.”

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