Lunchroom Battles!

The 7th grade doesn’t know it yet, but we 6th graders are going to win the Going Green competition at school, which also means…….PIZZA PARTY!!  Ok, so the pizza party would be awesome to win and so would rubbing it in to the 7th and 8th graders, but that’s not the point.  We’ve really learned something!

A few weeks ago, you heard from Brandon about how his class is using the 3 R’s to use less paper and make less waste.  Their classroom does look neater, but so does our lunchroom now. Thanks to us!

The 6th grade decided a bigger impact can be made where we eat, in the lunchroom.  Our class pledged to create a waste-free lunchroom.  It took some research, but we created a plan that included using less and reducing waste in the lunchroom. Instead of buying milk or soda cans for lunch, we’re using water bottles with juice or soda from home. If we bring lunch from home, it’s in a reusable container so paper and plastic baggies aren’t used.  There’s also a supply of reusable utensils that everyone has access to instead of using and throwing away plastic forks and knives. We have also taken old plastic barrels and made them recycling containers –one for the aluminum trays that contained our lunch, one for milk cartons, and one for waste.  We even talked our teacher into helping us build a compost bin for any food waste left over from lunch that can be used as compost.  Each week a few students are selected to clean any dirty aluminum trays and put any food waste in the compost bin.  It’s a dirty job, but there’s extra credit for the hard work.  In the last 3 weeks, our lunchroom ladies have reported only having to use 2 trash bags for waste instead of the usual 6 for all three classes.  The aluminum trays and any soda cans have totaled $86.72 in recycling cash too!

When I stop to think about it, it’s not about the competition anymore.  It’s about making our school better.  Our teacher calls it sustainable. I call it GREEN.

How did we come up with the idea? We did some research on the EPA’s website at: http://www.epa.gov/osw/education/toolkit-res.htm

Josh is a middle school student in inner city Chicago. He has played the violin since he was 4 and hopes to someday be part of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.