Recycling policy expands

Students leading the charge at Conant High School

Less than a year ago, Conant High School in Jaffrey did not practice recycling. As of today, the school has filled a four-cubic-yard recycling container 11 times, which translates into tons and tons of paper, cardboard, plastic, cans and other materials being shipped out to recycling plants, to be sorted out and reused, rather than thrown away.

“Reducing our footprint, teaching and raising awareness about environmental issues,” said CHS senior Marissa Hehir, that’s what it’s all about for the Conant High School Environmental Club.

Moreover, for these students, it is not only about improving the policies at their high school. The group of students that brought recycling to Conant High School are determined to expand those practices to the entire Jaffrey-Rindge Cooperative School District. Seniors Marissa Hehir, Jackie Lundsted and Stacey Young and sophomore Austin Stacy of the Conant High school Environmental Club presented a recycling policy proposal to the School Board on June 2. The policy passed the first reading with no changes in content.

The policy will require every school in the district to practice recycling in the classroom, common areas and school events. The policy also recommends cooperation between students, faculty and custodial staff to ensure most materials are recycled.

During the presentation, Conant High School student Jackie Lundsted said student involvement has been crucial to achieved the club’s goals. “Everyone has shown a lot of interest in helping us. We have spoken at school assemblies. We feel a lot of support,” she said.

With around 12 to 14 active members, the Environmental Club at CHS has achieved what many students would consider impossible: having their voices heard.

“It is honestly amazing to see that you can actually make a difference,” Hehir said.

In a School Board meeting last December, the club made a presentation about the importance of recycling at Conant High School. Soon after the presentation, the school district purchased a single-stream container for CHS. “In a single-stream recycling dumpster you can put many different materials without having to sort them out. It was something very helpful because that used to take so long. Our club is so small and the time struggle is huge,” said Hehir.

The club also received a donation of $500 to purchase recycling bins for the classroom from the Jaffrey-Rindge Education Foundation.

Recycling has been the club’s top priority for this year, however, senior Stacey Young said after the policy is implemented, the club would be able to advocate for other causes. “Recycling is our focus for now. Once it’s a policy, we can move on to other projects,” Young said.

According to Hehir, supporting local agriculture is one of those projects. “We want to focus not only recycling but sustainability in general, we want our club to promote other ways taking care of the environment like supporting local production, local agriculture. We want to promote a local farmer’s market in the future,” Hehir said.

Ten members of the club will be graduating this Friday, however, Young said she believes that despite their departure the student organization will continue long into the future. “We are recruiting a lot, we have junior and sophomore members and we are trying to out reach to other clubs, Young said.

The members of CHS Environmental Club that created the policy are: Kathryn Kelly, Corrin Layfield, Shannia Aho, Austin Stacy, Haley Goodwin, Jacqueline Lundsted, Allina Bennett, Stacey Young, Marissa Hehir, Autumn Bennett, Shelby Barden and Shannon Bennett and their advisor is Social Studies teacher Seth Farmer.

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