JVH Green Team
- Grade 9
- Grade 10
- Grade 11
- Grade 12
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We decided to make a green team to help our school become more environmentally aware and take action within our community. Our first project was to create a better waste management system for the school that included composting, mixed recycling and refundables. We noticed a large amount of organic and refundable material ending-up in our trash bins due to a poor waste management system throughout our school and thought we could do something to fix it.
In order to make the project happen we had some work to do. Firstly we had to count all of the bins that were distributed around the school that could be used in our waste management program, as we didn’t want to contribute to more wasteful consumerism by buying all new stuff. We sourced additional bins and boxes from our houses and local grocery stores to fill the gaps. We created clear signs for each type of waste that were visual enough for kindergarteners to understand, as our school is K-12, then went around to every classroom in the school to explain the new system that would be put in place. We had some of the classes participate in some activities to have them practice and try out our new system. Once the system was in place, we developed a schedule for members of our team to handle the refundables and compost. The garbage and recycling was already taken care of by our amazing, supportive custodians. Every Friday the refundables get collected and brought to a storage shed, where they will then be sorted and brought to our local bottle depot as a fundraiser. The compost also gets collected up and transported to our community garden, a block away.
The results are a functional system that properly sorts and processes all the waste we produce in our everyday lives. For example, organic matter is getting composted which is reducing the amount of waste that ends up in the landfill, generating methane and contributing to climate change. The composting alone is reducing unhealthy decomposition that is occurring in landfills and an additional benefit is that it is being used as a mulch or fertilizer for our community. The refundable initiative is directly reducing the amount of plastic making it to landfills, and helping us support further initiatives by creating some income for our team. As the project continues we hope to have more involvement from younger students to help with our compost and refundables. We are already starting to train them on what has to be done to maintain the project.
In the future we hope to get a bear proof bin that can hold our compost at the school, to cut down on the inconvenience of transporting our compost to the community garden (we also anticipate that we will overflow the community garden soon!). We would also love to create our own garden at our school with our compost to grow food. The food that would be grown would be donated to our foods class to make food for hungry kids as well as other hot lunches.
Our project has greatly helped reduce our school’s waste, and the system we have created within our school has helped multiple classes work together to keep the initiative going. It has also brought attention to the fact that taking action against climate change is attainable, it can start small and doesn’t have to be this expensive and glorified goal. This project is directly supporting the innovation of reducing and directing waste away from landfills and creating useful products out of materials that would regularly be labelled useless. This project encapsulates the three core identities of the recycling movement which are Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. The goal is to educate students to reduce their waste, as well as repurpose and reuse the plant-based organic waste in order to create garden products for our community gardens such as fertilizer and mulch. This project also pushes to recycle all of our plastic and paper products. The students have become well informed about the issues surrounding the environment they live in and how they can make a positive change in order to better the collective future. It is important that everyone understands the risks that we are facing in the 21st century as our environment is at risk. Overall, our project has made a very notable impact on our schools waste production, and has become a way that students from the entire school can work together in taking action against climate change.