Trick or Treat for Sustainability!

By Matthew Sun ’24, Connor Ennis ’24, and Sanju Patel ’23

On Sunday, October 31, 2021, Upper school Sustainability members Sanju Patel, Connor Ennis, CJ Nwafor, Matthew Sun, Siri Oehler, Holly Wilcox, and Nikolas Larson participated in a dumpster dive chaperoned by Ms. Bessias. Leading up to this, we had previously met with Mr. Benson, the Director of Business Services at DA, and discussed our desire to partner with Green-to-go to save money, reduce waste, and reduce emissions. To follow up on this meeting, and to determine if Green-to-go is a feasible option, the sustainability committee organized this effort to analyze the contents of our school’s waste. 

During the afternoon of Halloween, members of the dumpster dive team met in the parking lot by Kenan Auditorium. We emptied the dumpster and pulled trash out of plastic bags, sorting items into compost, recycling, TerraCycle, and trash.

We found that only a third of the stuff in the dumpster was actually trash.

The rest could be recycled or composted, and there was some TerraCycle material, too. There were a lot of paper towels, toilet paper rolls, food truck lunch waste, pizza boxes, etc., all of which can be composted. We’re working to raise awareness of the pizza box issue, and we have met with Mr. Smith, the Director of Facilities, to make a plan for composting paper towels in the restrooms. 

Compost bins will be placed in the STEM bathrooms after Winter Break, so make sure to look for signs about what to put in them. We are following a plan that the Middle School created at the beginning of this year, and we are so excited!

Another major trash source was just clearly not trash. Who is throwing out computer cases? Gatorade bottles? Come on folks, you are smarter than that! We hope that you consider what you throw out, because you never know who might be watching 🙂

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