LOVELAND, Ohio -- Nearly 18,000 gallons of trash in the Loveland High School lunchroom has been reduced 840 gallons during the past two years Those results could be considered outstanding.
The school had been separating recyclable content from trash, but two months ago, students in the environmental science class had "greener" aspirations. The students wanted to pursue a "zero waste" zone for the cafeteria. That would mean reducing the landfill waste to 360 gallons of trash a day.
"This is going to be a process," environmental science teacher Tracy Burg said. "Changing a culture is going to be a process."
Her classes began researching and developing processes to implement composting to the recycling program. The class determined that there were four categories into which they could separate lunch trays: compostable, recyclable, trash and terra cycle. Terra Cycle is for plastic bags for sandwiches or shopping bags.
The students then had to write grants, research cafeteria flow, and then implement everything they learned, which came together on Wednesday, Jan. 2.
Should the waste get below the goal of 360 gallons, or six full industrial sized garbage bags, the lunchroom would be considered "zero waste." Really, the process was simple, there were four containers where finished with lunch could dispose of their items. The class tried to simplify new system for their classmates by color coding the each category, and had students from the class were stationed at each location to give assistance.
The goal of filling six bags was not reached at the end of the lunch period. Instead, they had filled two. That is correct, in the past couple of years, the school went from nearly 18,000 gallons of trash a day to today of 120 pounds.
Should the school keep up the rate of trash collection at six bags or less, they could become the first "zero waste" lunchroom in the state of Ohio and one of the first in the country.
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