The Last Straw


Young Green Team members take recycling one step further with their Last Straw initiative.

Green Team is a club with members who are passionate about the preservation of the environment and take steps to promote recycling to change the culture of our school. They meet Tuesdays and Thursdays to collect recycling from every classroom and dispose of it properly. The officers, Allie Batchvarova, George Ardura, and John Le realized that the school doesn’t recycle, so they wanted to make a positive change to Potomac Falls in making it a greener environment.

“I want there to be a culture of awareness at our school. I want our student body to realize that their choices to recycle, to clean up, and to be conscious of the environment around them really does matter. While recycling is only a first step, it’s a big one,” said Le. “I am so happy to see that in a few short months, PFHS has gone from barely recycling to actually committing to making a difference.”

Two members of the Green Team, sophomores Paige Calvo and Lilliana Quinones, were inspired by Green Team and support the initial goal of making the school more of a green environment. The two created a sophomore project called The Last Straw, partnering with Panther Perk to sell metal straws to the coffee drinkers of the school. They will also be selling them at lunch shifts to get the word out. In addition, Calvo and Quinones may also have a reusable cup system, either for purchase or to return at the end of the day, almost like lunch trays.

“I think it’s great to see [Calvo and Quinones] find innovative ways to decrease the prevalence of straws. Metal straws are the new wave; I actually have to go get one myself soon, but even though it won’t completely end plastic straws. It’s a step in the right direction and on top of that, they want to reach out to other organizations such as Link Crew and the sophomore class, building community and getting people excited for the common goal,” said Le.

Green Team will help support The Last Straw by being there to advocate, spread the word, and fundraise for the project. They will also contribute by having volunteers help distribute the straws and do other tasks to make the project happen.

“This project of theirs embodies our mission therefore we will lend them a hand,” said Le.

Some would ask why metal straws are important. According to, there has been a lot of controversy circling around plastic straws and how they hurt turtles and other sea life. This is true, but what a lot of people don’t know is that when they are recycled, they are too lightweight to make it through the mechanical recycling sorter. The workers at these facilities don’t have the time to go through and get the straws to recycle them, and as a result, the straws get thrown into the trash. They also end up in the ocean mostly due to human error, such as littering, leaving straws around on the beach, or being blown out of trash cans, boats or vehicles.

“We want to make people self-aware about what they are doing to the environment when they constantly use plastic when there are better alternatives. We hope this project could change the culture at Potomac Falls because when people become aware of the problems that are in the world right now, hopefully they change their own behavior outside of school. Every little thing we can do counts right now. We should all do our little part to help the earth,” said Calvo.

These straws will be sold for three dollars a piece. “[This is] a onetime purchase for a product to use over and over again that will help our earth,” said Quinones.

Calvo and Quinones will be having meetings with the Link Crew sponsor, Victoria Russell, since Link Crew runs Panther Perk they will also be meeting with principal Brandon Wolfe for support and startup funding. They will also have a Feature Friday video soon to inform the students of Potomac Falls about their project.

“Paige and I hope to have our project up and running within the next few weeks,” said Quinones. “Staff members have been very supportive thus far and Paige and I are very excited to see how it all plays out.”