Two schools sort through their trash to improve recycling and composting efforts
A few days before Halloween, students at Colchester High School and Champlain Valley Union will dump a day’s worth of trash out on their lawns to find out whether compostables and recyclables are hiding inside.
In an effort to keep resources out of the trash — and, by extension, out of the landfill — more and more schools are adopting annual trash audits to measure the effectiveness of their recycling and composting programs.
Colchester High School (CHS) will host its first waste audit in four years at 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday, October 22. Champlain Valley Union (CVU) will host a follow-up to last year’s waste audit at 8 a.m. on Friday, October 25. Both schools are working in collaboration with Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD).
The data that CHS gathers will enable them to explore the best ways to improve their recycling program and get a handle on what they need to do to start composting food scraps in their cafeteria. The event is student run.
Last year, CVU found that 62% (by weight) of what they were sending to the landfill was actually compostable. They found that 17% was recyclable material, and that only 21% was truly trash. This sparked an initiative to simplify how recyclables, compostables, and trash would be collected in the cafeteria. The result: CVU installed new, better-designed cafeteria sort stations. They held informational assemblies for all students and faculty to discuss proper waste sorting. This year’s waste audit will help CVU measure the success of their new stations, and to pinpoint what issues remain between them and an A+ in recycling and composting. The event is run by CVU’s Environmental Action (EnACT) club.
“Students at both Colchester High School and Champlain Valley Union High School are highly motivated and concerned about the environment. They want to go beyond making sure students recycle. They want to reduce the amount of waste the schools create in general,” said John Powell, School Outreach Coordinator for CSWD.
Many high schools use waste audits to show the need for organics recycling at school.
Specific Event Details:
Champlain Valley Union High School: 8am October 25th
Melanie Laquerre, Teacher and advisor, (802) 264-5700, LaquerreM@csdvt.org
Katie Antos-Ketcham, Faculty Supervisor, EnACT club, 802-482-7100, firstname.lastname@example.org
John Powell. School Outreach Coordinator, Chittenden Solid Waste District, 802-872-8100 ext. 211, email@example.com