Green Committee asks for students’ help to make the school a greener place

December 18, 2022 — by Jonny Luo and Kathy Wang
Green committee members run a booth at the Saratoga Education Foundation run, selling eco-friendly products like reusable utensils, straws, tote bags and water bottles.
Founded over the summer, Green Committee hopes to install new 3-way bins this year to create a more eco-friendly environment. 

Last summer, recent graduate Cici Xu and a few parents founded the Green Committee after being frustrated by the lack of progress toward sustainability at the school.

The committee is notably separate from the Green Team, a club that has existed for many years and works on making the school  greener by volunteering, hosting group hikes and working on environmental projects.

The new committee has five subcommittees: the awareness subteam, which runs their Instagram  account @greencommiteesaratoga, organized the recent MOSAIC lesson and posts posters across the school; the solar panels subteam, which pushes for sustainable energy such as solar panels; the water and hydration subteam, which works on fundraising and installing new water-bottle refill stations; the wastes bin team, which pushes for new, 3-way recycling smart bins of $8,000 each; and the electric facilities subteam, which aims to install more eco-friendly LED bulbs. 

According to senior Carolyn Pyun, the committee’s chairman, the school and administration have consistently supported their efforts. 

“The district has been super receptive,” Pyun said. “We met with the superintendent in November, and he was really on board with our hope to make Saratoga more eco-friendly, such as by stopping the use of plastic bottles at our school.” 

Despite the support from the school district, Pyun said the Green Committee has been having a harder time gaining support from the student body. 

“It’s hard to get high schoolers motivated about things they don’t usually think about,” Pyun said. “But we’re trying and I think the effort is really what counts.” 

One way they try to get students involved is by selling reusable products such as metal straws and reusable utensil sets, which they hope can help replace the single-use plastic forks in the cafeteria. These items can be bought online and all proceeds go to buying the school’s new three-way bins, which Pyun hopes will encourage students to properly sort their trash.

Currently, the committee is working with West Valley Collection & Recycling to add composting to the school, and they are currently trying the system with the cafeteria. This system is supported by superintendent Bill Sanderson, who hopes Saratoga High can follow his previous schools’ footsteps in using compostable utensils in the cafeteria. 

They are also trying to educate students on proper waste management, as during the recycling competition, many recycling bins were contaminated by trash, which meant entire bins could not be recycled. 

Pyun recommends a few actions for students, staff and parents to help support the committee. 

“It would be great if more people could order from our online shop, especially because daily habits like not using plastic utensils can really make an impact,” Pyun said. “Additionally, if you have any feedback, please DM us on Instagram, as we’re really active. You can also participate in both our Green Committee meetings and Green Team meetings to get more involved.”

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