Leon County (county that the state capital, Tallahassee is in)in the state of Florida cut funding for school recycling around ten years ago, calling it a "lost cause". In the summer of 2006, I assembled a team to paint aluminum cans that would be used for recycling at my high school (Lincoln). Those were rejected by the principal because they were "unregulated". Because of that, our group raised around $1,000 for bins to put around the outside of the school. Unfortunately enough, that group disbanded and I was left to pick trash out of the 12 bins on a weekly basis. I was alarmed by the number of chicken bones, hamburgers, and other various trash people erroneously threw in the bin and knew something had to be done.
The summer of 2007 was much better and far more beneficial. I found more interest in the club and called for an environmentally-friendly car wash (using phosphate and dye-free soap, and relocating the used water to dry areas of land). With that done, the county and a group called Greenovation teamed up with Green Club presidents such as myself. Together, we discussed ideas for bringing a "Green Club" to every high school, middle school, and elementary school in the county. These Green Clubs eventually split into separate groups (one for advertising; one to bring recycling into math, reading, science, and history curriculum's; one to draft a grant for county-funded recycling; and others). If the grant passes, recycling will be regulated in each school, each school will be "Green Cleaned" (a process of using alternative cleaning materials and light bulbs that are not only more efficient, but safer for the environment), and each school will be helped by the custodial staff to collect recyclables (the students collect the recycling and gather them, the staff puts them in the large bins outside of school).
Until then, I am celebrating my senior year with the title of Recycling Coordinator of Lincoln High School (and in some regards Leon County) and President of Lincoln Green Club. Our organization collects recycling and places them in the large recycling bin outside for pickup and raises money for more bins (for inside and outside the school). New to this year is in-school recycling, where each teacher has a bin to put recycling in, and our club, couple with SGA (Student Government Association), goes around school every Friday during lunch to collect it.
We do other projects, such as Coastal Cleanup (going to St. Marks, Florida and helping a larger association clean up the beach and surrounding area). We anticipate doing a benefit concert to raise money for more bins and to raise awareness about ecology and utilizing efficiency. We anticipate to clean up Lake Ella (in Tallahassee, Florida) for Earth Day but that has yet to be decided. The only thing that we have done that is separated from environmental issues is a food drive effort with SGA and NHS (National Honors Society) in which we ask our members to each bring in a certain amount of food that will later be given to the needy.
Besides Green Club, I have been an active member of my community. I often write letters to such companies as Ben & Jerry's and GE to complain about inefficiency of product packaging. So far, I have received only positive feedback. I have given 400 hours of community service at the Cocoa Beach Public Library Youth Department (reading to children, organizing shelves, organizing new books, etc.) And most importantly, I keep a positive outlook on life in hopes that someone else's day will be bettered.