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Waste Less, Recycle Most, and Compost the Rest!

Brittany Tate Beaugard,   Carver Elementary School
Food: Waste Less and Enjoy — It's Good for All of Us!
Access to Healthy Foods, Community Involvement, Student Leadership,  Teamwork
Waste Less, Recycle Most, and Compost the Rest!
This year, our students are not only focusing on what they put in their bodies, but also what they put back into the earth. With the help of some awesome local programs and some great mentors, we have formed a Green Team Dream Team at Carver Elementary. The mission of the Green Team is to help reduce our carbon footprint in St Louis. A select group of students leaders have taken on the task of sorting trash, promoting recycling, educating their classmates on green initiatives, physically doing the manual labor involved in composting and recycling, and maintaining our school garden. Student leaders stand at breakfast and lunch shifts to help students sort out their waste from meals. They make sure milk is poured out and cartons are recycled. They help sort out plastic films to be recycled by Trex. And they pull out all organic material to be sent to a commercial composting company. Students have also helped to fund raise to cover the costs for composting, since our local school district does not currently offer it. The first month of school, our Green Team underwent a waste audit where we measured 24 hours worth of trash created by the school. Our goal is to reduce our trash headed to landfills by 40% by April. We have a second waste audit near the end of the year, and I am confident with all of our students' hard work, we will crush that goal. We are creating healthy students, a healthy school, and a healthy environment for our future community.

How did students and adults work together as a team?

Several teachers got together to nominate students in each grade level who would be ideal leaders for this Green Team. Now the students leaders work with the teachers on lunch and breakfast duty, the cafeteria workers and the custodial staff to implement these new changes to waste management handling.

How do you plan to make this Play last during the school year and beyond?

The Green Team is very motivated and we are hoping these changes will become habits that last at our school for years to come, and in students homes.

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

Ultimately, our biggest challenge was funding to cover the bins and removal costs for composting. But students have donated $2 on Fridays to "dress down" out of uniform to help fund the initiative. We also had to work out a lot of the logistics with waste removal from the cafeteria and training students how to sort out their trash.