'Count Down to Zero Waste' Initiative

September 25, 2017

About a year and half ago, our students established a new club [The Eco Club] and conducted our school's first school-wide waste audit. The Eco Club students [2nd-8th grades] quantitatively measured the amount of waste from bathrooms, general classrooms and cafeteria food waste. The students also conducted a 'Trash Talk' survey to assess the general consensus of the school's staff & students about waste & solutions. This information was analyzed and presented by the Eco Club to the School Board along with suggestions for improvement. 'The Countdown to Zero Waste' was initiated as a result: hallway recycling bins were made; cafeteria trays have replaced styrofoam; and community volunteers have built compost bins in a designated area near the school garden. This year we wish to continue developing workable sustainable waste systems in our school and educate the school and greater community.

This year's Eco Club will introduce recycling paper bins to each classroom & admin office; vermacomposting bins to collect food waste from our nutritional supplement of fruits and veggies program [which students are served in the classrooms 3-4 days per week]; and Paper Recycling bins just for the brown paper napkins in the bathrooms that can be added to the compost systems. The objectives are to reduce the amount of paper & food waste in the school. The goal is to recycle any reusable paper: All white paper can be shredded for composting / colored paper can be utilized in our Artist-N-Residents Program; all fresh food can be given to animals in Eco Lab or fed to our worms to generate good soil amendment for the gardens. We will be able to quantify our measurements from the daily collections and reductions collected by the municipal refuge service. Students will conduct the education awareness by developing an in-school Public Service Announcement [PSA] that can be broadcasted throughout the school and placed on the school's websites. As an Apple Connect-Ed Academy and Field Museum - Mighty Acorn & Earthforce reach school, we have the technology and the connection to ecology principles to move forward with this project.

Our needed items will include 24 plastic crates for paper, 8 recycling units for bathrooms, 24 food waste receptacles, and 16 armbands for Eco-Club members [these act as hall passes when they conduct activities].

Intended impact of project

Reduced environmental impact
Improved occupant health & performance
Increased environmental & sustainability literacy