Chief Peguis Thinks Before they Toss
Our vision and hope was to reduce the amount of waste that was produced by our school population, and to deal with the waste we were creating in a more environmentally manner. A group of grade seven students completed a waste audit and discovered that the majority of waste created at lunch could be composted or recycled. Our plan was to get permission and funding for an industrial compost program through Green action Centre, and to do an overhaul of our current recycling program. As always, the main goal is to educate and raise awareness in our whole school population, including students and staff, in hopes that they will take this knowledge and new habits into their everyday life, and homes.
Our first job was to get approval for the composting program, which our division did not make easy unfortunately. After 6 months, and a lot of letters and emails, we were approved to join with Green Action Center to implement a composting program in our school. Once we had approval, we need to create announcements, PSAs, and posters to educate students about the new program, the benefits, and how to use the program effectively. We soon realised that both students and staff were more likely to dispose of waste in the garbage cans, as they were the largest, and easiest to spot. We decided we needed a new system, that was easy to use. We decided to purchase clearly marked bins of equal size, one for landfill, compost, and recycling. We also made clearly posters with images and text that told students exactly what items went in what bins.
Reflection & Celebration
Though the bins were quite costly, we found they made a huge impact on how students disposed of their waste. Just like the poster states “Think before you Toss”, we found students standing at the bins and making sure they were placing their items in the correct bin…they were taking the time to think about the choices they were making…which is huge…and in the process raising awareness. Within a few days, our collection team could tell there was more items being placed in the compost and recycling and much less in the landfill bin!
Though some small celebrations occurred, a final celebration of our efforts could not take place due to Covid.