In November 2016, Clark County Green Schools staff took Pleasant Valley Primary's breakfast and lunch garbage to the Clark County Green Schools Student Summit to do a waste audit. At the time, the school wasn't sorting food waste or recycling at lunch. Everything was going in the trash.
Two months later, the Green School team started working with Pleasant Valley Primary to implement composting and recycling in their cafeteria. In June 2017, the team, along with students from two classrooms, performed a follow-up waste audit.
Here are some highlights from a one day audit:
- Garbage was reduced from 171 pounds per day in November to 39 pounds per day in June
- Food waste carts contained no contamination
- Recycling carts had only a 3% contamination rate
- 231 pounds of food from that day will be turned into nutrient rich compost, which equals about 68 gallons
- Uneaten raisins and apples were placed on a share table to be eaten by students who needed an extra item; the rest was donated to the local food bank.
This captured data from one day. Taking these numbers times 180 days of school, this effort will have a major environmental impact! Garbage would have been 32,220 pounds per year and it will be reduced to 7,020! The 231 pounds of food waste per day will add up to over 41,000 pounds or 12,000 gallons of nutrient rich compost during the school year! This reduces the methane gas produced which contributes to climate change.
Areas of improvement PVP could work on for the next year include…
- Eliminate disposable silverware and bring back washable silverware
- Eliminate plastic clamshells and use washable service ware
- Work with students who bring lunch from home to use reusable containers instead of plastic baggies
"I was impressed and pleased with the amazing dedication and commitment of Pleasant Valley students and staff," said Michelle Picinich, Green Schools environmental outreach specialist. "It took a team working together and being open to something new to create this lasting change in their environment."
"Everything is still working out well for me with the recycle program. I am still amazed at the weight difference when I do throw out the trash bags with no food. It's really going to help my body last longer not having so many heavy bags to chuck up into the dumpster."
Dusty, PVP Custodian