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Waste LESS Every Day: Earth Day Clean-up at Auburn Drive High

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The Green Team at Auburn Drive High was ready to make an impact this Earth Day. The Green Schools Engagement Officer for HRM, Amber McMunn, used Google Hangouts to meet with the Green Team on March 6th. At this meeting, the students expressed that they do the clean-up for Earth Day every year and always get the same amount of garbage. This year they didn’t want to just pick up the trash because this would be only tackling the symptoms and not the root problem. Instead, the team wanted to create a campaign to focus on the source of the problem. Through brainstorming and discussing the common garbages they see, they decided to focus their campaign on the issue of single-use plastics.

Their clean-up took place on April 24th and the Green Team was ready to start a conversation with members of the school community. Outside the library, they had covered a bulletin board with facts about plastic waste, including information on the Great Pacific garbage patch. This is a floating garbage collection three times the size of France made up of 99% plastic. The installation provided tips on how to avoid using microplastics since things like microbeads might be present in items without our knowledge. Students on the Green Team had also created a game to challenge students on their daily use of plastic. They made a wheel the students would spin to receive a plastic-related challenge which they would do and then send a photo of them taking part in this activity to the Green Team. Some of the activities included using a reusable shopping bag, using reusable lunch containers, picking up littered water bottles, picking up a plastic bag found outside, and bonus entries for picking up litter near a waterway. Students who participated in the Earth Day clean-up received gloves and bags for the task at the library, where they entered to win prizes for participation to ensure contributions did not go unnoticed.

With beautiful weather on April 24th, the school had a great turn out for their clean-up. Approximately 390 staff and students filled two dumpsters with garbage between 9 am-3 pm, totalling close to 300 pounds of trash! The majority of the garbage was food packaging: fast food, granola bar wrappers, chip bags, containers, plastic utensils, straws, cups, and plastic bags. Some noteworthy items collected that day were from an area beside the soccer field where students found an old tent, damaged lawn furniture, a sink, an old soccer ball, and rolls of carpet. The photos of the clean-up day show that it was a great success. 

Thank you to the Auburn Drive High Green Team for all of your hard work! The message you delivered is making a difference to protect the environment, not only on the day of the clean-up but also into the future because you are empowering the school community with the knowledge that we can make better choices for the Earth.

~Amber McMunn,
Engagement Officer, HRM

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