Building community around teamwork: Lacamas Lake Elementary's new milk dispenser

Michelle-iphone-photos-2019-769-crop Lacamas Lake Elementary's custodian, Nancy Stoy and members of the Clark County Green Schools team, measuring wasted milk at their preliminary waste audit

Camas School District's Lacamas Lake Elementary began serving milk out of washable cups instead of single use cartons in March.  Passion for this project came from all parts of the school. Nancy Stoy, their custodian, led the charge along with their principal, Mrs. Mueller, and kitchen manager, Lorena Forshee, also advocating for the change. Once students found out about the milk dispenser, they expectantly asked when it would start.

One thing that made Lacamas Lake's launch of their milk dispenser pilot project unique was their involvement of students in the change. The Green Team assisted with a waste audit where we measured the amount of carton and milk waste created by serving milk out of cartons. Students also were on hand the first week of the dispenser, assisting students with operation of the machine and sharing how to take only what they will drink.

Principal Mueller emphasized to students they they should only take what they will drink. This was covered both during lunch and at an assembly prior to the launch of the program and clearly communicated the expectations to students. Reducing wasted milk accounts for the greatest environmental impact of this project. 

Lead custodian Nancy Stoy assists with the program in helping change out the bags of milk when they are empty. Nancy also leads the Green Team and lines up students to help with all aspects of lunch, from helping at the milk dispenser to sweeping up garbage and monitoring the sort table. The energy around working together as a team is contagious! 

The kitchen and custodial staff have worked together to make this change a success. Any change can be a challenge at first, but the teamwork at Lacamas Lake Elementary made it all come together.

This project is funded by the Washington State Department of Ecology's Local Solid Waste Financial Assistance program. 

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