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Friday, 4 November 2011

Students commit to waste reduction

Ms. Carson's Class on Garbage Free Lunch da
The Zero Waste Program has been very busy touring elementary schools throughout the region and inviting classes to enter the Regional Garbage Free Lunch Challenge. On the day of the Zero Waste Workshop students have been rolling up their sleeves, digging through their lunch waste, and separating it into the following categories:
  • disposable plastic sandwich bags
  • pre-packaged food wrappers (chips, cookies, fruit bars, granola bars, cheeses, and fruit leathers)
  • single-use containers (yogurts, applesauce, and puddings)
  • Beverage containers (disposable juice boxes, juice pouches, juice cans, water bottles, and milk cartons)
  • plastic forks and spoons
  • straws
  • paper napkins
  • disposable paper or plastic lunch bags
  • organics
  • fruit stickers
  • other
The organic sorting team a Spring Creek
Separating the lunch waste in to objects opens up a conversation around waste alternatives. Small yogurt container, granola wrappers and plastic sandwich bags are some of the most common waste items found in our audits. Buying larger yogurt and dishing it into a re-usable container, making your own granola bars, and packing snacks and sandwiches in a lunch kit will significantly reduce students lunch time waste. One of the messiest categories to count is the lunch time organic waste - there is usually a lot of it, and it demonstrates to classes how much landfill space we can save by composting. The chart below compares the total lunch waste from the FIRST (of two) audit for each of the classes that have completed the Garbage Free Lunch Challenge.

Total Lunch Waste in First Audit

A week after the workshops classes host a Garbage Free Lunch Day and re-audit their waste. If classes show a reduction in lunch waste they are entered to win 1 of 10 classroom worm composters. I am pleased to report that every class that has completed the challenge has shown a significant reduction in waste. Classes are still entering the challenge, and more results are coming in. Check out the results so far:

Garbage Free Lunch Day Waste Audit Results

Class % Waste Reduction
Whistler - Spring Creek, Ms. Hardy 51%
Squamish - Mamquam Elementary, Ms. Carson 81%
Whistler - Spring Creek, Ms. Allen 68%
Pemberton - Signal Hill, Ms. Niet 56%
Pemberton - Signal Hill, Ms. Ross 63%
Whistler - Myrtle Phillp, Ms. Desbrisay 86%

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