If your middle or high school has a Green Team that is looking to get more people involved in efforts to reduce waste, consider hosting a Trash on a Tarp event. This activity provides a way for the entire school to see all the waste it makes while the team gains valuable data on how much the student body knows about recycling and composting.
During the Trash on a Tarp event, all lunchroom bins are replaced with three tarps labeled compost, recycling, and garbage. At the start of the lunch period, a King County Green Team specialist, the school Green Team leader, or an administrator explains the activity. Students eat lunch as usual while the Green Team specialist circulates around the lunchroom asking recycling trivia questions.
When students are finished eating, they sort and discard their waste on the tarps. Students often react with curiosity and disgust as the piles build up. After the final lunch period, the Green Team analyzes the three piles, looks for contamination, calculates percentages, and brainstorms the top five improvements the school can make to waste less and recycle more.The team can schedule a follow-up meeting with the specialist to discuss challenges and successes.
Contact a King County Green Team specialist to schedule Trash on a Tarp at your school!