Composting Machines to End Hunger and Recycling Towers
The Sustainability Club at Selkirk Montessori School is led by our grade 7/8 student volunteers. A group of around 15 dedicated students have joined this optional club to help make our school more environmentally friendly. Additionally, two teacher leaders run this club: Devon and Amanda. More and more, we are getting the whole school involved with initiatives and programs that take steps towards reducing our carbon footprint and going green! We will soon be working with classroom teachers and the administration to run information sessions and assemblies educating our students on how to reduce waste.
One of the major environmental problems our world faces today is waste pollution. Canada produces 1.33 billion metric tones of waste every year. Did you know that Canada produces the most waste in the world? This is a combination of industrial and agricultural waste. We believe that the impact this waste has on our environment is incredibly harmful and the actions we can take to lower the waste will greatly help our environment. The grant funding provided by LSF has allowed us to implement and improve two of our school’s waste programs. First, our school composting program, which will allow us to take waste and turn it into fertilizer for our gardens, and second, our school recycling program, reducing our carbon footprint! We will also be working towards educating our school community and greater community of Victoria about waste and how to reduce our carbon footprint. We are also working towards getting paper towel into the composting systems instead of landfills!
Throughout the last several weeks, students have run a fundraising effort to cover the outstanding cost of the recycling tower system. We ran a sustainable raffle where items were collected from local, sustainable businesses and put into gift baskets (not wrapped in plastic). We raised over $500 in this fundraising effort, which allowed us to make up the difference in cost for our project.
Our first Action Project was to improve our school composting program. We ordered two Vitamix indoor composting machines with this grant money, and were able to divert 24 ounces per load, and have used it 53 times. That’s 1,272 ounces of waste converted into usable fertilizer for our gardens. We then used this fertilizer to enrich our soil for the fruits and vegetables that we are growing on the classroom balcony. We hope to grow this produce to donate to the community fridge, a local non profit food pantry for the food insecure.
Our second Action Project was to revamp our recycling program at our school. Throughout the pandemic, our recycling systems at our school have been almost non-existent. We still currently have basic paper recycling, garbage disposal, and composting. However, additional recycling such as soft plastic, Styrofoam, tetra packs and returnable recycling, have not been recycled due to hygienic reasons. In that time, the teacher formerly responsible for these programs has retired. We are now ready to put together a new system that will allow our school to reduce its carbon footprint.
We LSF funding alongside our fundraising efforts to help pay for new recycling towers on each floor of our school. We will also be purchasing larger compost containers for each classroom space to ensure that paper towel does not get thrown in the garbage! Additionally, we designed and created labels to encourage better use of compost, garbage and recycling containers, ensuring that recycling gets to where it needs to go (no more paper towel in the garbage)!
Reflection & Celebration
We are so thrilled at our progress and wanted to give a huge thank you to not only our school for allowing us to participate in this project and LSF for funding it, but also our dedicated students and staff for being on board with the changes made and the new systems put in place!