Langley Leads Recycling Efforts

Langley Leads Recycling Efforts

School will serve as pilot program for athletic field recycling.

— Langley High School will serve as a pilot program for Fairfax County when it comes to recycling on the athletic fields during sporting events. The Langley Eco School club is spearheading the initiative, collecting grant money to purchase the recycling cans to be placed next to the regular trash cans.

Elaine Tholen, environmental education manager for Fairfax County Public Schools, said the initiative is part of the county’s effort to demonstrate environmental stewardship on all levels.

"We want to make sure students have accurate information about being green, but we also want to make sure there’s an action component to that," she said. "If our goal is to graduate environmental stewards, we need to make sure we back that up with knowledge. I feel like the Langley Eco School club is able to look at that area of being green beyond the classroom."


Members of Langley High School’s Eco School club will be putting out cans for recycling at the school’s athletic fields. The Langley program will serve as the pilot program for the county recycling at all their athletic fields.

LANGLEY SCIENCE TEACHER Deanna Den Hartog said the school is also aiming to continue environmental education across all age groups.

"I think we do a good job of providing environmental education in elementary schools, but once students get to middle and high schools, sometimes there’s just not an opportunity," she said. "That’s not the message we’d like to send, that it’s good when you’re younger, but not when you’re older."

Using the county’s Get2Green module located on the Blackboard site, students and administrators can connect to both internal and external resources. Jill Baker, who founded the Eco School club with her daughter, a Langley student, says Get2Green has helped the club track down grant funding for the recycling cans.

"The fields are so extensive we needed three different sources of funding to get all the cans," said Jill Baker. "Fairfax County recycles a lot of materials, but we’re focusing on cans, bottles and paper. We’ll be putting a recycling can next to each trash can, because we think the only way this will work is if every time someone goes to throw something out, the option to recycle is right there."

The club sent out questionnaires to all of the Fairfax County high schools to get an impression of what recycling was going on, but many schools weren’t even able to respond.

Showing Off Green Efforts

The Langley High School Eco School club will participate in the Nova Outside Green Schools Expo Saturday, March 3 at George Mason University. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the George Mason Student Union II Ballroom (The Hub), 4400 University Drive, Fairfax.

Langley will be among several county schools showcasing their green efforts and investigating what other schools can do to go green.

More information is available at

While several schools have programs in place, Tholen says it’s her hope that Langley can provide a reproducible model that any school that desires can pick up.

"We don’t want to re-invent the wheel, but if Langley can find out where to get the cans, what cans work, what placements work, then they can put all that out to other schools who will have all the information in front of them should they want to start a program," she said. "With all of our sporting events, the amount of recyclables that end up in the trash is incredible, and we’re hoping by testing this program out in the Spring, that by Fall, when the busy football season starts, we’ll have the program in place."

THE CLUB will be using metal cans with a mesh-like design, so wind can pass through them while on the field instead of knocking them over. The Spring sports season officially starts March 3 at Langley, and the blue recycling cans will be found next to each green trash can.

Students are currently involved in spreading the word on the program, writing a script for the theater department to film a spot showing what can and can’t be recycled as well as creating flyers to place around the school.