Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Zero Waste Goal

When Rebecca started the first grade at our local neighborhood public elementary school, I sent her to school with a home-made lunch, it seemed the right thing to do. She had her lunch box filled with wholesome, largely home-grown  and local food.   Out of 20 kids in the classroom, only 2 other kids occasionally brought their own lunch. Everyone else ate whatever processed food menu was presented by the cafeteria. Rebecca felt a bit out of place but seemed happy to have a good lunch!
By second grade, she managed to get a spot at Evergreen Community Charter School. What a difference. I remember when we were at the Information Night for potential new families that she was SO excited to find the EVERYONE at Evergreen brings their own lunch!
And not only does everyone bring their own lunches but the school, being an environmental ed based program, encourages everyone to have a "zero waste" lunch.
Have you ever seen the trash can in a regular cafeteria? Overflowing with trash.. uneaten food, cartons and wrappers and more! At a recent potluck at the school, I was amazed to see the lack of trash at the end of the meal! Each family brought their own utensils and cups and plates. Because "bring your own" is the school way, I have a picnic basket that has a set of dishes, utensils, cups and cloth napkins for our family. Each classroom has their own compost container that is emptied into the school compost bin at the end of the day. Recycle bins are in each room as well.
Rebecca has a lunch bag made out of a re-usable grocery bag that I re-purposed into a cool custom lunch bag. She has a series of re-usable plastic BFA-free containers that come home each day along with a cloth napkin and spoon or fork. Classy and NO Waste!
Today I got my weekly copy of Organic Consumers Association Newsletter. The article that really caught my attention is on Zero Waste for Zero Warming. It takes on the concerns that Evergreen Community Charter School addresses through all of their school functions in a big scale way.  And the only way for it to make a difference, is for all of us to participate in our own everyday lives!

Here is a quote from the article...
Zero Waste aims to close the loop on all material used in the economy. Under Zero Waste, each element of a source-separated waste stream is subjected to minimal treatment so that it can be reused. Clean, source-separated organics (including kitchen discards) are composted or subject to anaerobic digestion; usable goods are  repaired and re-used; other materials are recycled.
I want to encourage you to become aware of the stuff that we throw away and where it will go and how long it will take to decompose, if ever! For many of us, once our trash is picked up at the curb, we don't think about it anymore... Think about it!

Watch this video from Zero Waste to learn more.


Pam said...

Great stuff. Thanks for sharing your ideas :-)

mrs green said...

Wonderful post; and one which shows how such a simple thing can make massive positive impact. Zero waste is my personal passion and you're right - the amount of waste created by cafeterias is astonishing. Taking your own lunch is the way forward (and you know what you're eating and will save money too!)

Warm wishes
Mrs Green