School District 42 and Ridge Meadows Recycling Society are partnering to support local schools that are taking initiatives towards becoming a Zero Waste School.
A number of initiatives are being tested out at Alouette & Fairview Elementary schools and will be a first step toward helping other schools in the District reduce waste, conserve water & energy, encourage reuse, and save money. These initiatives include a “Pack it in, Pack it out” policy, turning excess lights off in classrooms to save energy, placing 1-litre bottles in toilet tanks to conserve water¸ encouraging reuse through a used book exchange box in the school lobby, and adding special plants to classrooms to encourage nature appreciation and improve the air quality.
On October 13, as part of their annual Waste Reduction Week presentation to Maple Ridge Council, Ridge Meadows Recycling and the elementary schools will be sharing the results of the schools’ initiatives and presenting Mayor & Council with their very own Zero Waste Kits.
“When we heard about Alouette & Fairview elementary schools’ decision to focus on reducing their waste through a new ‘Pack it in, Pack it out’ policy, we knew we wanted to help support them,” says RMRS Vice-President Leigh Hodgins. “Showing ways we can help schools reduce their waste is a great fit for our Waste Reduction Week presentation.”
The “Pack it in, Pack it out” policy refers to students bringing the waste from their lunches and snacks back home with them to recycle, compost, or throw away. Many people are already familiar with the phrase, usually applied when visiting a park or hiking, and as a bonus, parents are able to see any food that their kids aren’t eating and reduce food waste.
“Our ‘Pack it in, Pack it out’ campaign has led to practically zero lunch garbage in the classrooms and on the playground,” says Alouette Elementary Principal Melanie Roth. “I am happily surprised at how stunning the results have been and how easy it has been to get students and parents on board. Because of this initiative, we have now moved from weekly garbage pickup to having it picked up once a month.”
“A zero waste school is more than just a school that generates the least amount of garbage through composting and recycling efforts,” says Alexandra Tudose, School District 42’s Manager of Energy and Environmental Sustainability. “A zero waste school looks at all of its wasteful activities and does something about them. Energy waste is another form of waste that the school district encourages individual schools to take action against. Removing waste is not only good for the environment but also for our budget. Our school district can save on electricity, natural gas and garbage pickup costs by removing waste!”
Waste Reduction Week 2015 is October 19-25. For more information, visit www.wrwcanada.com
Ridge Meadows Recycling Society has created a special Waste Reduction Challenge badge for Maple Ridge Guide & Scout groups in honour of Waste Reduction Week in October.
“We are excited to be working with Guide & Scout groups this year,” says Carol Botting, President of Ridge Meadows Recycling, “Caring for the environment has always been an integral part of the Scouting and Guiding movements and partnering with them is a natural fit for our Society.”
Local Guide & Scout groups have been given a list of Ridge Meadows Recycling Society’s challenges through their Area Commissioners which they must fulfill in order to get the badge. There are three different sets of challenges, depending on the age group. The first set is designed for younger kids and includes Sparks, Brownies, and Beaver Scouts. The second set is for Guides and Cub Scouts, and the third is designed for the older Pathfinders and Scouts.
All challenges include learning how to sort their family’s recycling & set it out at the curb by 7:00am on recycling day, but also cover topics like litterless lunches, composting, and energy & water conservation. The groups will receive a visit from Ridge Meadows Recycling’s Environmental Educator, Dan Mikolay, and the older kids will be touring the Maple Ridge Recycling Depot to learn more about the recycling process.
To book a workshop with Dan for your Scout or Guide group, simply fill out the form below!
“Both youth & adult members of Scouting in Maple Ridge are looking forward to working on the Waste Reduction Challenge,” says Three Rivers Area Commissioner Christi Goncalves, “From the Beaver Scouts’ promise to ‘help take care of the world’ to the Scouts’ law to be ‘wise in the use of all resources,’ environmentalism is found at all stages of the Scouting movement.”
“Part of the Girl Guides of Canada Law is a notation that it is our responsibility to protect our common environment,” adds Lougheed Area Commissioner Darlene Kent, “We make it fun so the girls learn about conservation, water, nature, ecology, sustainability, and so many other topics. As future leaders, we will need our Girls to continue to protect our environment.”
Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Venturers, & Rovers (co-ed):
Christi Goncalves, 604-818-7625, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sparks, Brownies, Guides, & Pathfinders (girls only):
BC Girl Guide office, 1-800-565-8111 or www.girlguides.ca
The Ridge Meadows Recycling Waste Reduction Challenge badge is available to any member of Guiding (Sparks – Pathfinders) or Scouting (Beavers – Scouts) in Maple Ridge who has completed the requirements. Challenge badges will be handed out to Guide & Scout representatives at a special Waste Reduction Week presentation to Maple Ridge Mayor & Council at 7:00pm on Tuesday, October 28, 2014.
If you would like to have a workshop at your class, school, organization, business, or apartment, please fill out the form below and Daniel Mikolay, our Environmental Educator, will be in touch with you.
When Ridge Meadows Recycling Society and the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Times launched our search for the Top 40 under 40 Community Environmental Leaders, we didn’t know who would step forward. By the deadline, we had received nominations for over 40 youth who are taking action and making an impact in all kinds of ways.
From a 5-year old who vigilantly reminds his family to turn off lights and recycle everything they can, to a 13-year old who completed a 120km bike ride for his summer vacation, the next generation of environmentalists come with a built-in sense of urgency about the future they are growing into.
These are leaders in many fields – water, energy, and nature conservation; recycling and waste reduction efforts; local food and permaculture; visual and musical arts; and green business initiatives – many who have been aware of environmental issues throughout their lives and are now at a point where they are taking action.
“There is a sense of crossover between these fields,” says Leanne Koehn, who organized the search along with Ridge Meadows Recycling’s summer student, Jesse Russell, “I think the next generation sees the connections between all these fields and has a more holistic view on how they fit together to create a sustainable future for our planet. ‘Environmentalist’ is no longer a label, it’s a lifestyle.”
The original three categories (Child, Youth, and Adult) grew to include “Family,” “Class,” and “Honourable Mentions” as nominations started rolling in. “We didn’t want to exclude anyone,” explains Leanne, “This search was just a starting point to identify, highlight, and bring together youth who are making a difference. The longer-term plan is to work with them throughout the year and beyond to support their projects, and give them a platform for their ideas through our social media, website and newsletters.”
In addition to a special feature the Times is doing on the Top 40 under 40, they are all invited to a celebration at the Maple Ridge Recycling Depot where they will go on a special Depot Tour and receive certificates and gift bags containing items from local and environmental businesses and organizations. They will then head to the Municipal Hall for a photo opportunity with Maple Ridge Mayor & Council.
On July 1, 2012, there are a number of EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) programs expanding, which means more items will be accepted at the Maple Ridge Recycling Depot as part of BC Stewardship Programs. While all electric & electronic items are already accepted at the depot (“Everything with a battery or a cord!”), people can bring many more items to the depot for recycling starting July 1, 2012.
Newly accepted items through Encorp’s Return-It Electronics program include everything used with electronic systems such as 8-tracks, records, cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, laser discs, memory cards, game cartridges, VHS (& Beta!) tapes, floppy discs, & USB drives. While this program doesn’t include the cases, they will be covered in the future by the EPR program for packaging and printed paper, which is currently in its planning stages.
Product Care’s LightRecycle program is also expanding from just fluorescent light bulbs & tubes to include all light bulbs, including incandescent, LED, halogen, & miniature (flashlight & Christmas lights) light bulbs. The program is also expanding from residential lights to businesses & organizations in the “ICI” sector, which covers Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional. Other programs are expanding to include medical grade electronics, electronic toys, car electronics (GPS systems, stereos, & radios), all electric or electronic tools, gaming systems, and any sport, leisure, arts, craft, or hobby devices that have a power cord, plug, or battery.
Here is a list of some of the new items accepted at the Recycling Depot starting July 1, 2012:
Are you a passionate recycler or environmental advocate between the ages of 4 and 40? Do you know someone who is?
Ridge Meadows Recycling Society and The Times newspaper are teaming up to seek the top 40 young environmentalists in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows who will become the next generation of recycling and environmental leaders.