From lids and caps to colorful benches

Andy Chang, Guest Columnist

Every day, people use hundreds of plastic bottles and cans for food, storage, and even electronics. And what happens to them at the end? Although some considerate people put them in the recycling bin, the majority goes into one of the worst possible places for plastic: the trash can. The waste then gets disposed into a landfill, where the plastic is expected to break down. 

A report from the Environmental Protection Agency states that 13 percent of our nation’s municipal waste comes from plastic. In addition, plastic waste can take up to 1000 years to decompose, leaking pollutants in the soil and water. 

You can see why recycling is a much better alternative for plastic than disposing it in the trash. But how does one use this plastic and transform it into a brand new object in a high school? The answer comes with one important feature: plastic lids and caps. 

The National Honor Society has started an innovative project this year by collecting plastic lids and caps. These plastic lids and caps will be sent to the Green Tree Plastics company to turn them into a bench. It is directly sponsored to the ABC Program, where students participate in an engaging project to learn more about protecting the environment. 

Boxes labeled with plastic lids and caps were placed at each classroom. Next to each box, a sign is posted showing the acceptable materials. Acceptable plastic caps and lids come from a recycle number of 2, 4, or 5 shown. These can range from drink bottles, markers, yogurt, plastic easter eggs, and many more. 

The cafeteria also features collection buckets for the lids to be placed. Since the cafeteria lacks recycling bins, this is a great way for the plastic waste to be recycled.

The goal is to get 500 pounds worth of caps to afford two benches. The top 10 NHS cap and lid collectors also receive a free catering lunch from BuffaLouies. 

So far, many students have been eager and have started to collect plastic caps and lids.  “I think this is a great way for plastic waste to be put into great use,” senior Roma Matharu said. “This project allows people to realize how people can start conserving the environment in an easy non time-consuming way.”

Overall, this school-wide collection reveals the purpose of protecting the environment with a simple project of collecting plastic lids and caps. Recycling plastics allows people to reuse the plastic in new manufacturing products. Most of all, it helps prevent millions of plastic waste from drowning in the overcrowded landfills.