RMRS & SD42 Support Zero Waste School Pilots
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