12 Dec Dumpster Diving MattersThe Sustainability Club at Riverstone International School and I weighed, categorized and inventoried the trash at school a couple times to see what we are actually dealing with, we our mind’s eye set to first REDUCE first and foremost- what are these paper service plates doing being sent to the landfill, why are we using disposable serving trays and silverware for lunch service and who can we ask if any of this can be changed? Our second goal is to identify what could be reused, well- if we used reusable products the vast majority of this trash stream would not exist- is any of this tenable at Riverstone this year? We, the student Sustainability Club and the school Sustainability Council are working hard to find out! We have one more waste audit to conduct then the students’ plan to present their results and questions to the school- more on those pieces later!
In the meantime, there are teachers and parents that have brought in their personal orange bags for collection of “Energy Bag” items. These bags have been approved for use in schools as long as the teacher takes them home to a residential recycling bin to have them collected. There is not commercial orange bag system in place for schools yet. The ultimate problem with our trash is not that that we don’t think about it once it is in a can- it starts much earlier in the consumption chain. Our biggest problem comes with purchasing. Our decisions to make trash are a piece of our daily lives- any time you are “shopping” think about what impact your purchase will make to your trash stream. There are amazing alternatives to single use cleaning products, single serve food items, single use grocery store plastics. I, for one, have given up buying myself a treat from Albertsons as all of the pastries I enjoy come in a non-recyclable, non- compostable, non- energy bag plastic container. I choose to vote with my dollars if I cannot find an outlet for my voice, will you join me?