Maine South Senior, Catherine Vittallo: December ChangeMaker and Go Green Park Ridge intern
"We learned a lot from this waste audit. Over two bins of recycling were placed in the trash with remaining liquid as well as a lot of other food which was wasted."
Hi, my name is Catherine Vittallo. I’ve been working with SWANCC (Solid Waste Association of North Cook County), Go Green Park Ridge, as well as the environmental club at my high school to make the cafeteria specifically more environmentally friendly. We are starting with the huge recycling issue ... it’s nonexistent. A couple long term goals are to save electricity in vending machines, reduce plastic use, as well as implement more water filtrations in the school.
I've also been trying to promote the use of ecosia more - the search engine that plants trees. It's basically the same as google except that they use their profit to plant trees where they are needed the most.
Specifically to make steps for a greener cafeteria, Mrs. Lauren Maloney and I applied for a SWANCC grant to implement recycling stations into the cafeteria. This way, students are forced to have a choice of where to put their trash; recycling, landfill, or compost. Currently, their only option is the trash and that's not ok.
Additionally, I've also met with Dr. Collins and Mr. Berendt at my school about putting up posters around the school and in classes above recycling on what should and shouldn't be recycled. The problem is most people still don't know what to recycle. Implementing signs would be extremely helpful so that the trash is correctly sorted right away.
One last thing Dr. Collins and I are working on is saving electricity. Starting small with the vending machines, but working towards hiring a dedicated person to turn everything off at the end of the night. This would not only save the school a ton of money but save a lot of electricity at the same time.
A future goal of mine is to use social media such as facebook and instagram to share current events about the environment. Most people don't understand the little things that they can do to make a difference. Even at the end of my internship if only a couple more people know small alterations they can make to their everyday routines to better the planet, I would be extremely happy.
Take a look at what your neighbors are doing for Park Ridge sustainability!