Is Sehome Sksksksaving the Turtles?

Working Towards Plastic Reduction and Changes in the Community


Sharing the importance of recycling, Grace Schubeck (11) shows that landfill, compost, and recycles can be used as art to help express the importance of properly disposing waste. “I hope these posters can share importance putting their trash in the right bins,” Schubeck said. “Hopefully this can decrease the amount of incorrectly disposed trash.”

Yoshimi Lin, Arts/Media Editor

Sehome has been working on plastic reduction in the last year with the implementation of compost bins, reusable silverware and plates, and compostable cups. With the progress they’ve made, the students at Sehome have been striving for more changes in the community. 

“(Our ultimate goal this year) is getting people more excited and helping people understand the relevance of reducing single use plastic,” Grace VanderGriend (12) said. “Environmental Club is trying to get the school more involved and we’re shifting to be more open to new members.”

Environmental Club focuses on spreading key environmental issues throughout the community and teaching them about ways we can improve our sustainability. The club’s advisor, Amy Hankinson, last year focused a lot upon spreading awareness of compost at Sehome. There have been many compost bins implemented in the school with signs to spread the word about composting. 

“You get to make dirt and don’t fill up the earth was as much landfill, how cool is that?” Hankinson said. “Ways to reduce single use plastic can be to use reusable water bottles and reusable anything.”

This year, the club hopes to take the next step and have students send letters to the district office in hope to reduce the use of single use plastic in the whole school district. Starting local, by challenging current waste distribution to become more sustainable, the club is promoting change. They believe that taking care of the Bellingham community by cutting down on single use plastic can make the difference. 

Not only has the club been sources of encouragement for the school, they have been able to push towards reusable dishware, silverware, etc. and have collected data on how accurately people are disposing their recycle, garbage, and compost. These waste audits are then sent to the principal to determine what improvements can still be made in the school. 

Some teachers have even taken the extra mile to prevent the use of single use plastic in their classroom. Susan Auld, science teacher, has been a strong advocate for the use of reusable cups and urges her students to reduce their consumption of single use plastic or disposable cups. 

“I think there’s been a massive increase in the number of reusable cups but people don’t want to go inside to bring their cup and don’t think they can bring one through the drive through,” Auld said. “Even if people think they are recycling plastic, the United States is producing more plastic than is being recycled.” Although there may be some question whether you can use a reusable cup through the drive-thru, you can just ask for a drink in a reusable cup and they will pour the drink into your cup. As of matter of fact the coffee shop will usually ask what size your drink is and pour it into whatever size container you’ll bring. 

There have been numerous amounts of improvements at Sehome limiting the use of single use plastic as well as how well waste is disposed of. Many people have played a role in making change in our community but who’s to say that’s the end?