Green Team Tackles Technology

“Ding!” Students and teachers in the Upper School of Dana Hall all received an email from the School’s Green Team, in late October. The new recycling effort targets technology products such as, batteries, headphones, broken iPhones, and chargers. The Dana Hall community believes that each small action adds up to bigger and better change, and this is why it is redoubling its recycling efforts to safely dispose of outdated technological products.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans discard 30 to 40 million computers each year. Add to that the fact that American consumers discard 98 million cell phones every year, and the number is growing. Rapid technology changes have created the fastest growing mass of electronic waste around the globe: the world tosses out 20 to 50 millions metric tons of electronics every year, recycling only 10% to 18%. As Dana Hall School takes one step forward to use more and more technological devices, such as iPads and computers, the School’s Green Team is trying to solve some of the problems that come with technology’s rapid progress and waste.

The Green Team is a student-run organization, led by Teresa Wang, Sarah Jeon, and May Dong, with the charge of raising student awareness of environmental issues. The Green Team creates fun incentives that motivate students to participate in environmental activities. By sponsoring events about climate change and green technology, the Green Team reminds the Dana community about its responsibility to produce less waste and become a student body contributing to global sustainability. As Green Teamer Nez Riaz says, “ Students sacrifice time to rest and study for the greater good of the environment because [they] want humans and their future generations to live in a healthier environment.”

The new technology recycling launched with recycling boxes are in the library, dormitories, and technology lab. Many of the electronic goods should not end up in landfill or incineration, because the toxic chemicals, metals and associated solders, glues and plastics can cause both environmental and health problems,. At the end of the collection process, the Green Team will work with a company that specifically technology products. Dana Hall’s unwanted technologies will be recycled or reused as parts of new technology. Letitia Zhang, a junior at Dana Hall, dropped her used batteries in the technology recycling station saying, “It is good to know that batteries are also recyclable, and I cannot imagine how much they can hurt our earth. ”

In addition to the new recycling efforts, the Green Team introduced new composters and water fountains this year. They hope to see more people bringing in their own water bottles and filling them from the water fountains rather than buying plastic water bottles. This winter, the Green Team will create a Green Cup Challenge among Dana’s dormitories to save on electricity and heat resources.

Early on a cold autumn morning, about 120 students and teachers are busy recycling throughout Dana’s campus. The recycling station next to the admission office is bustling with Mrs. Gray’s advisory group. Students are dumping paper from the blue bins, bottles and cans from the green bins, and trash from the grey bins. The air fills with the scents of juice and soda residue mixed with the smell of the student’s rubber gloves and the coffee some drink to begin their day. Students and their advisors clean the cans and bottles carefully, pouring the waste into a bucket. Katherine Sun, a junior with a busy life both inside and outside the school, says, “I am willing to spend time on recycling instead of sleep because sleep cannot make a healthier world.” There are many students like Katherine Sun in the Dana community who sacrifice for a healthier world, and find that their efforts make them feel better.

Although the Dana Hall community is small when compared with the whole world, their hope to make the world better is large. As Ms. Musher, the Green Teem advisor, says “the greater good of our mission is to contribute environmentally friendly efforts to the world as a whole.” Teresa Wang, one of the heads of Green Team agrees. “Participation represents the maxim of our school: loving and caring the world around us,” she says. The Dana Hall community does, indeed, care for the world, which makes both participants, and the earth, happier and healthier.

by Luceo Wang

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