Green Teams in King County schools have already accomplished a lot since the beginning of the school year! There’s plenty of time to start new projects this year. Or expand upon ones you started last year.
The Peter Kirk Elementary Green Team and custodian Paul Bowler wanted to improve recycling in the classroom. They invited King County Green Team specialists in to host Let’s Talk Trash, an activity that includes a waste audit to find out how much material is being recycled. The week before the event, Paul and the team saved the contents of the recycle bins from every classroom. During the audit, teams sorted through each bag and created and weighed two piles: recyclable and non-recyclable. They learned that the school is doing really well (96% of the recycle bin contents was recyclable) with a few areas needing improvement. The team will share the results with the school, offer ways to improve, and invite participation in a “Golden Recycling Bin” contest.
This year, many elementary school Green Teams are starting projects to reduce plastic waste. The projects begin with the team learning about the most common types of plastic waste, the life cycle of plastic products, and current event stories about plastics. Next, the team develops realistic alternatives to the most common types of plastic waste and plans a plastics art show and pledge wall. Small groups create art made from used, disposable plastic. These creations along with posters showing the plastics problem and solution are displayed for the whole school to see. The art invites students and staff to reflect on the problem and the pledge wall gives them an opportunity to take action to reduce plastic waste. Email a Green Team specialist to plan your own plastics project or call 206-981-2240.
In early October, Juli Rester’s Leadership classes at Cascade Middle School participated in Environmental Leadership workshops to learn more about food and other school waste and to plan a project. The classes explored eight different project options presented by the Green Team specialist. The first class chose to inventory the school’s lunch menu for a week to determine which foods were not being eaten. After gathering data, the team will talk to key stakeholders at the school and prepare a thoughtful presentation recommending ways to reduce the amount of uneaten food. The second class decided to use art to draw attention to school waste. This class will create several art pieces made from trash to display at the school. Each art piece will be accompanied by a poster with key facts and easy solutions that everyone can adopt.
Student Green Team leaders Shelby and Lauren as well as teacher Andrew Rapin worked with the King County Green Team specialist to plan a Trash on a Tarp event that would meet the needs of Mount Si High School. At the time of the event, no recycling was available in the cafeteria, so students’ knowledge of properly sorting waste was not tested during the event. As usual, however, all garbage cans were removed and tarps labeled garbage, recycling, and compost were placed in a central location. The county specialists and the team made signs and helped every student and staff member properly sort their lunch time waste, a strategy that created a cooperative atmosphere. The team recorded its observations, analyzed the data, and then determined its top three areas for improvement to work on throughout the school year. This motivated team has already reached its first goal. On October 16, 2017 the school started recycling in the lunchroom. The Green Team also created a video to promote lunchroom recycling.
High school and middle school Green Teams are creating short, informative, fun videos to support their waste reduction and recycling goals. For basic videos, Green Team specialists help the team create stick-figure storyboard scripts that clearly outline the entire process. After the team has prepared materials and props, rehearsed, and created the video, the specialist can help with simple video editing as needed. Some teams are expanding their efforts to create a digital story that utilizes paper art and white boarding. Email a Green Team specialist to plan your own video or digital story or call 206-981-2240.
Let us know what your school Green Team is up to and how it’s improving the environment in King County!