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Waste Reduction Week at West Northfield Elementary School!

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Any school-wide engagement events start with brainstorming and sharing, and that’s exactly how the lead up to Waste Reduction Week went with the West Northfield Green Team!

The team gathered to brainstorm ways to reduce waste in their school. The creative team ideas included: a week of wasteless lunches; encourage a decrease in paper use and increase in using both sides of the paper; educate students to use less paper towel in the bathrooms; increase use of reusable water bottles and decrease use of juice boxes; and save their waste for the day to see how much the school produces. The team talked about each idea in detail on what they could do to make a difference to waste less.

In the end they liked them all and will likely touch on them all during the year, but they started with saving their waste for two days and visually showing the school how much waste they produce, and encouraging them to use less for the rest of Waste Reduction Week. Then they discussed how to communicate their plans for Waste Reduction Week to not only the students but the parents and the greater community. They talked of the importance of face-to-face conversations to really engage with students and staff. They also planned to have a note in the newsletter, announcements in the school every morning, and posts on their Facebook page. Always an interesting and important process what a Green Team will work through to figure out what they are going to do, and how they will communicate their message.

When the day came, three Green Team members collected the waste from the whole school and sorted it on tarps in their gymnasium. The Grade 5 and 6 students came down to look and chat about what they saw. They noticed there were lots of juice boxes and paper towels. They also noticed that non-classrooms only had garbage cans so they were not sorting properly, and there was one classroom and the breakfast room that also needed better sorting containers. They also noticed that there was not a lot in the garbage bins compared to the recycling and compost bins. The obvious changes that came of this is to decrease paper towel use and single use drink boxes. They plan on collecting their waste again and spending some more time with all the classrooms analyzing their waste.

An awesome way to really show how much waste we all produce, and motivating people to do something about it. Well done West Northfield Green Team!

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