Every Friday as the day ends, about 20 students talk trash at Harker Heights High School.
It’s not a gossip session, but the Team Green Recycle Club collecting recyclables throughout the school.
“We needed to start collecting them because it helps the environment to recycle as much as possible,” said Nicole Stephens, a junior and the club’s president.
She recently organized the event after she noticed recycled items were being thrown away.
“It’s a good way for students to earn community service hours for the National Honor Society too,” she said.
Getting students involved was easy. Stephens and her eco-conscious friends made posters on recycled paper that lined the school walls, and used social media to announce meeting dates.
Science teacher Barton Jacques serves as the club’s sponsor and supports the students’ interest in the project.
“They learn about things that are shaping the world around us and it gets them involved in recycling, which is something they’ll do for the rest of their lives,” he said.
No time was wasted as students filed into the science classroom where Stephens organized them into three groups. After everyone signed in and received bags, donated by the janitorial staff, the students went to work.
“I would like to see this become a district initiative, because we could make a large impact by having all campuses involved in this activity,” Jacques said.
About 60 teachers participate, placing recycle bins in their classrooms. Recyclable items include used paper, cardboard, plastic and aluminum, but no glass. The items are taken to the Harker Heights Recycle Center.
For Kimberly Drinkwater, it is a necessary activity that was overdue.
“We were lacking a recycling team for a long time, and it’s helping us and those around us,” she said.
As a first-time participant, Nicholas Holland said recycling is a common thing to do. “I get on my teachers who don’t have a recycle bin in the classroom, that they need one.”
Last week, Stephens found some wheeled containers not in use and gave them to the groups to make collecting items faster.
“I think the club is amazing, and we should recycle as much as possible,” said Tommy Haygood, choir director. He also would like to see the activity become a districtwide requirement.
A recycling bin in the cafeteria inspired Alyssa Biggs to join the club.
“Community service is one of the top things colleges look for, and Team Green could help me with that, and it’s just fun,” she said.
In less than an hour, students hauled dozens of bags to a waiting truck for the trip to the recycling center. It’s a process they’ll repeat each week.