When the HDMS Environmental Club first met in September to discuss potential environmentally focused school projects, we decided to focus on food waste reduction in the cafeteria. First, we needed to find a local farmer to pick up food waste on a daily basis, to alleviate concerns from the Manager of Buildings and Grounds and the School Board members about attracting skunks and rodents. We found a pig farmer who was interested, but as we were preparing to present our project to the School Board, she sold her pigs and could no longer help us with the project. Fortunately, one of the Environmental Club members took the lead in finding another willing farmer. At the same time, another student collected five-gallon buckets to be used for waste receptacles.
We were thrilled to receive a grant from NRCM to fund our project, and it was a great incentive to move forward. We invited the principal, assistant principal, and district superintendent to one of our meetings to present our project idea. Students did a great job presenting the Waste Stream Reduction Project and shared how the project would help the environment. It could potentially lower the cost of garbage pick-up and help the Hall-Dale community become more aware of the importance of reducing our contributions to landfills, through one simple change in their personal habits.
After the administrators, we moved to present our idea to the School Board. Fortunately, the School Board was also receptive to the idea, especially after the reassurance that the waste would be stored in tightly covered containers and left for the daily pick-up by Farmer John of Big Daddy’s Farm in Whitefield. Our 32-gallon Rubbermaid receptacle was placed at the trash station in the cafeteria.
During the first couple of weeks of the project, members of the Environmental Club signed up to stand at the trash station during lunch periods to help train our community to separate food waste from trash. The positive reactions by many in our community have been an inspiration to members of the Environmental Club to keep the project going!