Waste Diversion to Fight Climate Change
Manitoulin Secondary School SHARE/Go-Green strives to raise awareness and take action towards zero-waste and carbon emissions from waste in food consumption. A student-led project can change the mindset towards more sustainable practices for reducing waste.
Waste reduction is a priority in our community and school, so we purchased compostable cups and started a composting program to reduce the waste going to the landfill and change the culture around waste in our school environment. In the past, many school events have used styrofoam or plastic cups for events. This is a harmful and unsustainable practice, as all of these end up in the garbage. Nowadays, there are alternatives. We explored the carbon impact and accessibility of various options and decided to use the grant funding to supply students’ council and other school groups with compostable cups. Furthermore, we launched an education campaign about composting. On May 19, we hosted a lunch event with a game, tea, and baking for students and staff, introducing both the compostable cups as well as the sorting of compost waste. A team of volunteers were recruited to oversee the ongoing sorting and education around the composting program. With the success of this program, we will reduce land-fill waste and contamination, use the resulting compost in school gardens, and creating a culture of sustainability.
Reflection & Celebration
The year-end event was the culmination of many months of work to change the culture in our school environment. The program received generous support from the Learning for a Sustainable Future Action Project Funding for student-led climate change/sustainability initiatives. With a $500 grant, the group was able to purchase compostable cups and bags, as well as set-up waste diversion containers and a compost bin. The collected compost is mixed with plant matter from the school greenhouse and uses friendly bacteria, heat, and moisture to break down the organic matter in banana peels and such. There are also worms and insects in there as well that help, but the main action is aerobic and bacterial. The school will use the finished compost in the greenhouse and in the raised beds around the school to help enrich the soil. Thanks to the new composting program, we have diverted 536kg of waste from the landfill into beneficial compost and educated students on composting and waste sorting. All students were supportive and willing to change their habits to help the school become more sustainable. So far, the launch was successful in raising awareness about zero-waste and carbon emissions from waste in food consumption.