Thanks to the dedication of ten students and Nikki Johnson, their science teacher, Squalicum High School Environmental Club helped their school reduce the landfill waste produced during their lunch from 6 full 55 gallon containers to only 1 ½ in just one day last week.
While Squalicum has had the Food Plus!
composting service at their school for some time, a waste audit
conducted by the environmental club and lead by RE Sources education staff found that 66% of the cafeteria’s garbage volume that was being
sent to the landfill was actually compostable. The motivated,
enthusiastic Environmental Club students were taken back by that number
and pushed themselves to make a change - it seems to be working. On
Wednesday, October 19th
the club members made a short presentation during each of the two
school lunches about the waste audit and their findings. Then, they
announced their commitment to reduce their school’s waste by 50% and
join Sustainable Connection’s community-wide Toward Zero Waste (TZW)
campaign. The huge banner that stated the commitment, “We Pledge 50%
Less Waste”, was signed by their fellow students throughout lunch and
club members monitored the bins to help students understand the new TZW signage and assure that compostables and recyclables were going in the correct containers.
little education and some motivation can go a long way, and here, you
can see the results – these students were able to get the 75% of the
waste that they found going to the landfill in the correct place.
Squalicum High School is a great example of how inspired students can
bring big changes to their school. The janitorial staff will continue
to monitor the waste bins and if the reduction trend continues, they
will downsize their landfill garbage service with Sanitary Service Company. Not only will Squalicum be doing their part to save space in
landfills, but they will be saving their school money on waste bills.
Way to go Squalicum and keep up the good work!
Sources looks forward to supporting many more regional schools in a
similar way during the upcoming year (with funding support of Whatcom
County Solid Waste Division).
If you know of an interested school, send
them our way.
- RE Sources’ Youth Education Program staff, Katie Fleming and Riley Grant