Editor’s note: The following, edited article was sent by Andover elementary school students who are members of the Hawk Talk newspaper at High Plain Elementary.
High Plain Elementary School students are trying to waste less food at lunch time, with a goal of zero waste.
The elementary school has adopted the same composting and recycling program that is being used at Andover High and Wood Hill Middle schools.
The effort started with a waste audit on Monday, Feb. 25. A group called the EarthWatch Committee at High Plain Elementary sorted the school’s trash into five categories: trays, recyclables, compostables, liquids and trash. The trays weighed 9 pounds, the recyclables weighed 7 pounds, the compostables weighed 64 pounds, the liquids 12, and excess trash weighed 20 pounds.
By sorting their trash, students report that they are reducing their waste by 80 percent.
High Plain’s third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders started composting and recycling on Monday, March 4. They will be followed by kindergarten, first, and second grade in early April.
Compostables get picked up twice a week and taken to Brick Ends Farm in Hamilton, Mass., for large-scale composting. Students have to be careful not to cross-contaminate the compost with plastic.
Instead of using Styrofoam trays, the school has started using compostable trays. This has been an easy transition; last year, a Girl Scout troop at the school cleaned and recycled Styrofoam trays.