Stem the Stream
Reducing waste at your school
Eastshore's Edison Challenge Team has been developing ways to reduce the lunch-time waste at Eastshore School. Over eighty percent of all items purchased by Americans are thrown away within six months. This is a huge waste of resources and energy. We are reducing our waste so that our garbage pick-up can be reduced from daily to every-other-day which will save our school district a lot of money. Listed below are the things we're doing:
- Collecting liquid waste for disposal down the sewer system
- Teaching students and parents how to reduce food waste
- Collecting food waste and composting with red worms. We purchased worm composters from www.kidsgardeningstore.com
- Recycling all plastic bottles and aluminum cans
- Recycling all Capri Sun pouches, Lays product packages, and Nabisco packages. For information on this recycling program contact Terracycle http://www.terracycle.net
- Recycling brown paper bags and cardboard cafeteria trays
- Recycling all plastic containers
We've worked with our food services department to explore ways to reduce waste such as replacing disposable utensils with stainless steel, using straw and condiment dispensers, and using reusable cafeteria trays instead of the cardboard ones currently used.
Educating our parent community has been challenging. We discovered a good number of our students throw a lot of their lunch away especially whole fruit. Our school of approximately 520 students was throwing away about 40 pounds of uneaten food per day - that's almost 4 tons of food per school year. Our student council members monitors the trash/recycling, and they encourage students to return uneaten food to their homes. We've been working with parents on communicating with their children on what they will and will not eat at lunch. We're also working on teaching our community to pack a lunch reducing the amount of disposable packaging. We've posted directions on how to do that, and a lunch with reusable containers is much cheaper that one that is disposable.
Our principal changed the lunch period this year. Students play first and then eat at the end of the lunch period. Since students aren't rushing to play, they take time to recycle and throw away their trash.
We also found that garbage cans need to be located next to the recycling containers because students are more likely to recycle. When garbage cans are spread throughout the eating area, many students throw recyclables away because its more convenient.
Working with our food services department, we've made the following changes:
- We've eliminated cellophane wrapped plastic utensils, napkins, and straws with stainless untensils as well as straws and napkins dispensed from dispensers.
- We've eliminated mustard and ketchup single use packets and replaced them with pump dispensers.
Documents for Reducing Waste at Your School:
Our Recycling Cart and Worm Composter
Our Team Leader- Kate Jensen; Co-Leader- Evan Chang; PowerPoint Designer- James Young; Business Letter Writer- Will Tomlinson; Website Designer- Matt Akins; Binder Editor- Stav Yativ
Teacher/Coach- Mr. Bill Brooks
Nature Recycler's Coloring Books at:
Earth Day Games at:
Educational Resources at:
Recycling Resources at:
Edison Challenge at:
Sovereign Earth sells stainless steel water bottles with a build-in filter making it possible to drink any kind of water no matter how dirty. It removes the chlorine from tap water making it taste better. Their web site iswww.sovereignearth.com
Coast Keepers which is an Orange County non-profit corporation that protects and preserves Orange County's marine habitats and watersheds through education, advocacy, restoration, and enforcement. Their web site is www.coastkeeper.org