To celebrate Earth Day, students at an elementary school set a goal to have zero waste at lunch. At Holmes Elementary School, the K-4 students ended their lunchtime with just one small bag of trash, weighing about 2.4 pounds, instead of the usual 15 bags weighing 9 pounds each.
“This is great. The results are wonderful,” said Jessica VanderArk, leader of the school’s Zero Waste in the Landfill (ZWIL) initiative.
The school started ZWIL earlier this year with the goal of reducing their landfill waste by 40 percent. Students are learning about recycling and composting with the help of a grant from the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council and in collaboration with the West Michigan Environment Action Council (WMEAC).The
ZWIL has been introduced one grade at a time, and is currently in grades 2-4. Students launched a video “Too Much Trash” which explains why the effort to reduce waste is important. The school cafeteria switched to compostable trays, and students sorted waste into recyclables and compostable food scraps.