Green Locker Cleanout 

Clemente students ensure the end of the year is green

June 21, 2010

It happens every year. Mid-June leaps upon us and suddenly it is time to clear out all the paper, notebooks, sweaters, and school supplies accumulated throughout the year. However much of material is thrown away can be recycled or reused. Chicago schools are taking a stand against landfill waste and organizing an end-of-year “Green Locker Cleanout.”


The Environmental Club at Clemente High School (1147 N. Western Ave) has led a locker clean-up for the past two years that keeps recyclables and garbage separate and increases environmental awareness throughout the school. 


Clemente students all clean out their lockers on the same day. Students from the Environmental Club are stationed in the hallways next to recycling bins or holding blue recycling bags, with garbage bins nearby. The Environmental Club monitors what their peers discard and directs all trash toward the garbage bin. In the blue bins or bags, they collect office paper, notebooks, junk mail, magazines, and newspapers that can be recycled into new paper products. The Environmental Club also sets up an area for reusable items like binders, book bags, calculators, and clothing.


Environmental Club leader and math teacher Mary Cutter says, “Supervision is by far the most important thing.” 


Without students monitoring the recycling bin, items like chip bags, paper towels, binders, clothing, and textbooks get mixed in with the recyclables. But by monitoring the bins, eco-knowledgeable students can let people know that it’s okay to recycle spiral notebooks and that you don’t have to rip staples out of old homework assignments before recycling them.  They can also collect other common recyclable items like plastic bottles and aluminum cans.


Beyond the locker clean-out, Clemente’s Environmental Club offers a “roving recycling program” the last four days of school. Blue bags are distributed to teachers, who fill them with paper classroom waste. The “roving recycling crew” collects the bags and takes them to the school’s recycling dumpster.


Instead of placing the burden on garbage trucks and landfills, Clemente students put their waste back to work by recycling.  This helps slow the depletion of natural resources and creates environmental awareness at Clemente.


If you’d like more information on CPS Recycling contact or call (773) 553.3161


Learn more about Roberto Clemente Community Academy High School.