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Catonsville High students go green, clean their campus

Catonsville High students go green for their campus

After the school buses left for the day Thursday afternoon, about 30 Catonsville High School students took to the campus with trash bags in tow and rubber gloves on their hands, picking up trash.

It was the first campus cleanup of the school year for the Green Club, a 19-year-old after-school environmental group.

Within 45 minutes, the students filled six trash bags with litter, sorted by whether it was recyclable or trash.

"We want to make our school a really clean place and make it very welcoming to people who come here and not be turned off by all the trash," said senior Kip Van Sant. "We want to keep our school grounds green."

"I love my school and I love my campus," added senior Sophie Waterman. "When it's all trashy and gross, you don't appreciate it as much. When you clean it up, it makes it a little bit of a better place and a happier place to be at."

The cleanup, which is expected to take place once a quarter at the school, is one of the Green Club's initiatives.

This is the second year the club has done the campus cleanup, said science teacher Sarah Sheetz, a faculty adviser.

Last year, the club installed covers for classroom light switches to remind those in the room to turn off the lights when leaving and built bird feeders to put on school grounds.

This year, the group is making an effort to collect markers and batteries, two commonly used items that club members say ought to be recycled.

According to Call2Recycle, a nonprofit that promotes battery recycling180,000 tons of batteries are thrown out each year, including 14,000 tons of rechargeable batteries.

When batteries are recycled, they can be turned into new products, according to Call2Recycle. Single-use alkaline batteries can be recycled into steel, sunscreen and road asphalt aggregate, while lithium primary single-use batteries and nickel rechargeable batteries can be recycled into silverware, golf clubs and new batteries.

"A lot of people, when they throw away their batteries, they don't really know that you're not really supposed to," said Green Club co-president Eric Diaz, a senior.

Diaz said battery chemicals can seep into the groundwater.

Through the Crayola ColorCycle program, the markers collected at the school are sent to a conversion facility where they are transformed into clean-burning fuel, according to Crayola's website.

"Teachers go through markers all the time in class, so it's a waste to keep having to throw them away," Green Club co-president Victor O'Toole, a senior, said. "Especially at a school, it makes a lot of sense."

Those in the community who have used batteries or markers they wish to contribute toward the Green Club's recycling efforts can drop them off at the main office at Catonsville High School.

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