Goodbye Green, Hello Blue

By Leah Schmidt, Current Staff

Students and staff returned from Thanksgiving break to a subtle but noticeable change to the West Bend High Schools campus.

Over the long weekend, custodial staff installed new tall, skinny blue recycling bins in each classroom at East and West High. These bins replaced the green and wide bins that were standard for years. According to Dave Ross, the district’s director of facilities and operations, this switch was part of a long-term district plan.

“The green recycling bins have been getting replaced across the district over several years now for economic, ergonomic and efficiency reasons,” Ross said. 

The green bins were always causing new challenges. 

“To the best of my knowledge they were never specifically designed or intended for use in classrooms or offices,” Ross said. “Since the old bins are larger, heavier and more awkward to carry than the new containers, the risk of injury was higher than it needed to be.”

Since the shape was awkward, larger, and heavier their main purpose was carrying large amounts of recycling at a time. 

The green recycling bins also caused a challenge for the custodial staff because it took them longer to empty the recycling bins.

 “For the custodial department, specific time standards are allotted for each task they are asked to perform,” Ross said. “Emptying a recycling or trash container is allotted 30 seconds. The large containers can take two hands to carry whereas the new containers can be carried in one hand and the trash can be carried in the other, shaving time off the task.”

Having the blue recycling bins also saves money on costly liners. 

“The old bins are about twice as large as the new ones, consequently the liners for the recycling containers cost less,” Ross said. “The cost for the new containers is less than $10/unit.” 

One of the questions students have asked is why have the cans switched from green to blue?

“Actually, blue has now become the standard color for recycling containers so that is what we went with,” Ross said.

(Top image: Paul DeLain, West science teacher, poses with one of the new blue recycling bins. Photos by Leah Schmidt, Current Staff.)

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