What Does Star Wars Have in Common with New Rochelle School District?

Written By: Talk of the Sound News


Lucasfilm / Disney:

“One thing’s for sure, we’re all gonna be a lot thinner. Also the Galactic Empire ought to consider a diversion program.” – what Han Solo should have said inside the Death Star’s garbage compactor.

I celebrated two holidays this weekend.

There was Memorial Day, of course, but Saturday marked the anniversary of the release of a little film called “Star Wars.”

It’s been 36 years since the film that we now know as “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” took moviegoers to a galaxy far, far away. Thirty-six years since America met Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and all the rest.

Thirty-six years since moviegoers watched our heroes be nearly squashed by a certain garbage compactor.

While on board the planet-annihilating Death Star I space station, built by Galactic Empire baddies, Luke Skywalker and Co. get stranded in a garbage compaction chamber, which activates while they are inside.

(Of course, the garbage compactor couldn’t defeat our heroes, although it would go on to spawn an unfortunate dance move.)

It’s a surprisingly crude method of trash management considering the advanced nature of other technology we see in the film. I’d guess that by the time we’re building starfighters and foppish humanoid droids, we’ll have something better than a catch-all compactor to deal with waste.

This particular garbage compactor is full of metal and other refuse, with some sort of sludgy liquid pooling at the bottom. Luke gets attacked by a creature living in the bottom of the chamber, which, according to a brief Google search, feeds on organic matter. So we know the Empire isn’t separating its organics from its recyclable material.

For shame.

The trend we’re seeing now is to keep valuable commodities like organics and metal separate from the rest of the waste stream. And to reduce consumption and repurpose materials before they even get to the trash bin.

A station as massive as the Death Star would certainly have the resources to implement some sort of diversion program, although I suppose an organization that blasts whole worlds to bits probably not concerned with being environmentally friendly.

They’re missing out.

There’s a lot of valuable stuff in garbage, and tossing everything in the same container to be crushed and smashed and probably ejected into space, never to be seen again, seems short-sighted. The Empire could even convert its refuse into fuel, something real-life space heroes are actually working on.

The Empire can’t even train its soldiers to actually hit a target; they shouldn’t be throwing cash down the garbage chute.

I bet the Jedi recycle.

Although 5 of the 10 New Rochelle’s schools now source separate to a certain extend in the buildings and lunchrooms, thus compacting their garbage generation by 80 to 90 percent, STILL the materials sorted out are not properly recycled. As a matter of fact, only very few of the source-separated materials are actually making it into the recycling stream.

Styrofoam and Milk cartons are fully recyclable when sorted out, and surrounding school districts have adopted that program on my initiative, however, sadly, New Rochelle’s buildings and grounds is not supporting the program and is rather willing to spend our tax money on garbage disposal fees then doing a bit of reorganization to allow for proper recycling of all recyclable materials.

36 years later and we have not progressed much…..