2015-05-29 / Community

Brown Elementary School

Margaret Hawkins, Principal

One of our goals for the 2014-15 school year has been to reduce the amountnt of solid waste that we send to the landfill. In conjunction with our PTA Enrichment Committee, the Brown School Student Council embarked on a study of how much solid waste is produced each day at Brown School. The students decided that the first place to start collecting data would be the schoolool cafeteriacafeteria. During a week in November, members of the Student Council collected and weighed all of the solid waste after 285 students had finished eating lunch. The weight averaged 90 lbs. a day in five trash bags. During this same time period, our PTA Enrichment Committee submitted grants to Ecomaine and Berlin City Motors Drive for Education in order help us get the funds to start recycling and composting. In December we were thrilled to be notified that both organizations were going to fund our grant proposals. Our next step was to begin planning with Garbage to Garden to establish a composting plan. With their help we began educating the students about the concept of recycling and composting. By February we were ready to begin the process. With three buckets, one for recyclable items, one for compostable items and one for the landfill, students began bringing their trays up and sorting. Student Council members and our lunch aides helped students with the sorting for the first few weeks. In April we started collecting data again. The students weighed the trash for one week. This time the average weight was 9 lbs. collected in only one bag! We are very excited about the success of our efforts. Now we have started composting in the classroom so that any compostable items left over from snack time will be properly disposed of. We are looking forward to a delivery of compost for our school gardens. Our Grade 4 students have taken responsibility for our classroom recycling program. Every classroom has a recycle bin and the Grade 4 students empty those bins weekly in time for our curbside pickup. We are all very excited about turning Brown School into a green school. Our next steps include working on conserving electricity and water.

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