Bash The Trash: It’s Time to Clean Up the Cafeteria

Ben Goldschlager, Staff Writer

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Today, I had first lunch, and the tables were—very surprisingly—clean. Spotless, no, but there wasn’t any trash on them.

Of course, this was only a deviation and one that was quickly corrected. By the end of first lunch, there were plenty of tables with trash that someone had neglected—or perhaps lazily refused—to throw away.

You know who they are. You know what it’s like.

The plastic cookie bags.

Half-drunk chocolate milks, the other half is spilled on the table.

White boats filled with fries, cheese, or some other remnant of the meal they once held.

Now, I understand. It’s perfectly fine for people to be lazy and force others to pick up after them.

It’s so much work to get up and take an extra five steps to the garbage can. And you’d have to be Hercules to be able to carry such enormous weight! Those lunches can weigh as much as a whopping twenty grams.

For these reasons, I understand why some people are simply unable to throw away their trash. After all, it’s not as though leaving trash around is disgusting.

Except, oh wait, it is.

They’re leaving their food for others to pick up after them. And very few people pick up trash that they did not leave. But why shouldn’t they? I always throw away trash that’s been left on my table, whether or not it is mine.

And I am getting pretty annoyed at having to do it so often. Or every single day.

Last year, I was not as good about this. I always threw away my own trash, but I rarely, if ever, threw away anyone else’s. What changed this? Last year, second semester, I took Child Development 1, taught by the lovely Mrs. McClary. One day, when we had an irregular schedule, we got to see the kids who were eating their snack.

Mrs. McClary pointed out that every single one of the kids cleaned their place and threw away their napkins after munching on their goldfish.

They then put their placemats—a laminated paper that had outlines of a plate, a fork, and a spoon on it—back in the proper place. None of them needed prompting to act so…maturely.

And this was in glaring contrast to the supposedly mature high school students.

Now, if four-year-olds can walk an extra ten steps (similar distance, but they have shorter strides) while carrying a one-gram napkin, I think it’s fair to say that high schoolers can walk an extra five steps carrying twenty grams of trash, whether or not they left that trash there.

I don’t like cleaning up after others. I’m not anyone’s maid–and, guess what, neither are the custodians!

That’s another reason I pick up trash. I don’t know many of the custodians, but I know all of them are nice, and I do know Mr. Watts is one of the friendliest guys at Staples. Every time I see him, he gives me a smile and a fist bump. I met him at GFS, and, back then, he was just as great a guy as he is now.

I could never leave trash for Mr. Watts to clean up, to act like my maid. And I don’t like it when others turn Mr. Watts or any of the other custodians into their maids.

So, just clean up after yourself. Nobody likes trash at their lunch table; it’s disgusting. 

Ask yourself, do you like sitting in a trash heap?

Actually, I’ll change that. Instead, ask yourself, do you like eating in a trash heap?

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