Slow Your Pace, Sort Your Waste

A.R. MacNeill Green Team

A R MacNeill Secondary
  • Mixed Secondary School Grades
Video Project (1 video)

Community Coach(es): 

Neil McCallum, Teacher Consultant - Sustainability @ SD38 // Amber, school custodian

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What / Goal: ‘Slow Your Pace, Sort Your Waste’ is the slogan for our waste-sorting initiative. Employing a simple mnemonic device utilizing alliteration (ss/yo - ss/yo), repetition (ss/your - ss/your), and subtle rhyming (pace/waste) allows this slogan to be at least somewhat memorable despite the minor mouthful that it may be considered. Our hopes are to defeat the somehow undefeatable confusion of “where does this go?”. With the multitude of bins we have for different materials, more confusion is created. We planned to challenge the impossible, and inspire others to make a simple change in their life for the better. This slogan inspires people to stop and think for a second which bin is appropriate for their waste, as opposed to mindlessly throwing their waste in whichever bin has the most colourful, eye-catching lid.


How we presented it / what we did for it: Our first project we committed to started at the end of the 2018/2019 school year (when we still had the soft plastics bin, our favourite. So sad to see it go this year!). We made a video titled “Slow Your Pace, Sort Your Waste” [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWmuiWajNBo&] which was a quick-paced list video, detailing where each item goes, with visual aids on screen to help drive home which item goes where, and can even be played without sound (for the most part). A special focus on editing was taken in transitions to keep viewer attention. It was not so much designed for people to remember, but more to give people an awareness of the waste-sorting issue that faces our schools and communities.


As our last big endeavour in this initiative we have created a waste sorting board, inspired by Ferris elementary’s, “Green Team’s Board of Rubbish™” as we’ve deemed it. This board enlists the colour-coding of the bins to help simplify the simple process of sorting waste. We took a pinboard that sits behind the bins, and put coloured paper up in columns that lined up with a respective bin. On the paper of any given bin, we put various items of waste that are appropriate for said bin. We chose items that were typically found within our school (such as cafeteria items) or generally have a large amount of confusion as to where it goes. On top of this, if you look closely, you may find some notes dotted around detailing district policies and clearing up confusion on some specific confusing items. Our mini slogan with this board: “Bored of Rubbish? Consult the Green Team’s Board of Rubbish!”


(Those with a keen eye will notice minor discrepancies between the video and the board’s lists, or things that have developed or changed over time from the video’s creation. The video was filmed before the Summer of 2019 and the rubbish board was started and finished at the end of February 2020. Within that time we learned a lot about sorting and some about sorting very specific items. We had also lost and gained some members during that time as well.) 


Impact: We noticed quite a lot of engagement, especially after having started the Green Team’s Instagram page this year (@armssgreenteam). Many people I (James) had personally talked to about the video enjoyed it. However, we had not pushed the video as much as I would have liked, but perhaps we will advertise it some more later on. What people have become more attracted to is the Board of Rubbish™. Many people were sharing our post on instagram, and some seemed very passionate about it, knowing they were making a positive impact, with some emphasizing specific details such as what numbers are recyclable. I think people are drawn to it’s colourful presentation, I was surprised with how beautiful it was when it was completed, not to toot our own horn :)

Improvements: Some things we would like to improve would definitely be advertising the video more and being a bit more effective in completing and putting up some ‘Slow Your Pace, Sort Your Waste’ posters we had planned, perhaps we will finish those up before moving on, but there’s still so much else to do! But that’s every Green Team’s lifelong goal, getting people to notice you lol.


Future: Our future plans with this project in specific would be to maintain the board, keeping it up to date, and adding what else we think should be included. We had briefly checked in with our custodian, Amber, about the board and she had begun helping us with it as well, giving us the district signs to use, moving items, and enlightening us on specific district policies on recycling, so big thank you to her! We plan to consult her and double check any other editions and notes we make.

In terms of Green Team’s future, we’ll be moving on to terrarium making (biomes, environmental education, for fun), making a 8’ windmill (sustainable power, garden decoration, for fun) and some other things.