Environmental Activism (EN-ACT) Club: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and…


Anna McGuinness

ENACT club cleaning the natural environment around the Montrose Community. They found random recyclable bottles and reusable bags!

Everybody, and I mean everybody, has heard the phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle.” And granted, there are a million permutations of this saying, but the one I think is the most important is one with four words: “reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink.” The “rethink” pushes you to ask yourself, “What does reduce, reuse, recycle actually mean?” More importantly, what does it look like in your life?

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),  the average American creates about 4.9 pounds of garbage per day. To put that into perspective, that’s like taking your chair at the end of mass and throwing it away, or going to Costco for two of their famous rotisserie chickens and then dumping them in the trash as soon as you get them. But think about how much of that could actually be recycled! Especially as students, all of us go through so much paper; so many index cards, poster boards for presentations, etc. Easiest things to recycle is paper, yet look in any Montrose trash can and you’ll see an alarming amount of recyclable material. Even sadder, it’s usually right next to a recycling bin.

So what can you, a busy student and teenager, do to step up and ease up on your carbon footprint? A great way to start is by informing yourself. The town of Medfield recycles tin cans and foil, plastic and glass bottles and containers, paper and cardboard. That’s a lot. Next, think about how to realistically implement recycling in your day. If you’re going to throw something away, do a quick check. Yogurt container? Recycling! Last unit’s notes? Recycling! Anything from the drink vending machine can get recycled. Take an extra step and consider the “rethink” of that beloved phrase. Rethink your routines and evaluate what little changes you can make to be a bit more sustainable and environmentally conscious. Try to bring your own reusable water bottle rather than relying on buying a bottle. Pack a snack in a reusable container rather than a Ziploc or snack bag. Bring your own bag to go shopping or even better, your own cup to Starbucks. (Pro tip: you can often save money that way!) Speaking of shopping, either decline or get a digital receipt when possible. All these things are little changes, but when they add up they can make a huge difference in your personal footprint.

Obviously, changing your routine can be difficult and I’m not asking you to do a total overhaul of your life in a weekend. Nevertheless, as Christians especially, we are called to be stewards of the Earth, and it is always so worth it when you step up and do your part. Mother Earth will thank you!

Sarah Ohaegbulam ‘23, Contributing Writer