This afternoon we completed a garbage audit at the school. It went a lot smoother than I expected. The 15 10th -12th grade students were upbeat. Our organization was efficient. The garbage was bearable. For example, when we opened the first food bag from the cafeteria, I was anticipating an overpowering stench to envelope us, however, it wasn't so.
We had sorters, weighers, recorders, and cameramen, working from 15:15 to 18:30 going through two days of garbage collected at the school. Plastics, biodegradables, paper, and cardboard were sorted into big bins and then weighed. Metals, glass, and miscellaneous were also sorted on the side and weighed at the end. We also counted all the paper and plastic cups. There were about 5 forks in there. i wonder if the owner of the food service realizes he's losing several forks every couple of days. Just last week he sent an email out to all staff requesting that we return his silverware as the numbers are depleting.
Entire sandwiches, unopened yogurts and drinks were in abundance. There seemed to be a ridiculous amount of plastics, even for Europe. What is with all the prepackaged food? Why not wrap the sandwiches on plates in plastic? Why not serve the elementary children their milk and juice in small cups? We are a small school. For the sake of the Earth, we could improve our practices.
Why did we do all this? The school is launching a "Going Green" initiative this year and our goal is to reduce our carbon footprint by 5%. We're performing the audit with the plan to submit a proposal on how the school can minimize waste. I somehow ended up leading the initiatve and it's a bit overwhelming at times but I also perceive that it will be incredibly satisfying when we meet our goals. I hope I'm at the school long enough to experience the long term goals of the project: a truly Green School that actually puts energy back on the grid.