December 21, 2016

Applesauce Project

Everyone knows, the best way to make less garbage at school is to pack a waste-free lunch.  One way to do that is by packing more homemade snacks in reusable containers and reducing store-bought, packaged snacks. 

The kids in room 209 know this first hand.  They made applesauce in class one day and were impressed by how tasty it was and by how easy it was to make - just two ingredients, apples and water.  They also learned that making homemade applesauce creates no garbage whatsoever. 

They took the idea one step further and conducted a taste test in class - homemade applesauce vs. store-bought applesauce.   And you guessed it… nearly everyone preferred homemade applesauce.  They decided to take the taste test out into the schoolyard.   In total, 225 kids, teachers and parents participated in the taste test.   172 people preferred homemade applesauce, only 53 people chose store-bought.  

Most of all, everyone agreed, applesauce is the perfect snack.   Why?
  1. It’s sooooo unbelievably yummy!
  2. It’s healthy too.  You know the saying... an apple a day keeps the doctor away.  
  3. It’s easy to make.   They’ve got a great recipe for you.   Check it out...
  4. It doesn’t create any garbage.  Just send it to school in a reusable container.  (And don’t forget the spoon).
  5. It doesn’t cost much… a whole batch can be made for just a few dollars.  Tip:  Make it when fresh Ontario apples are in season.   Then store it in the freezer until needed. 

Congratulations to Mr. Cressman and the kids in room 209.   Their applesauce project has inspired others to pack homemade applesauce and other homemade, waste-free lunches and snacks.

December 14, 2016

Waste Audit 2016

Yep!  We did it again.  Another waste audit.  Last week, we saved Monday’s garbage to conduct a thorough waste investigation.  We sorted it, counted it, measured it, and documented it.  Now we can use this data to help us figure out ways to Make Less Garbage at Jackman.  

Are you ready for this?  The total mass of Monday’s garbage... 24 kg... That’s slightly more than last year, but impressive nonetheless.  Just a few years ago, we had as much as 32 kg of garbage.  Here is a summary of what we found in this year’s waste audit.  

Recyclables - about 2 kg (That`s less than last year.)
Some papers (These should have been recycled.)
5 juice boxes (That’s much less than last year.  Still, these should have been recycled.)
Various food containers (For example, yogurt cups should have been rinsed and recycled.)
Lots of plastic spoons and forks (They can be reused or recycled.)
Various plastic bags (Yes, most bags can be recycled.)
Used markers (We collect these in rm 215 and take them to Staples for ‘special’ recycling.)

Food Waste - about 2 kg (That`s a lot less than last year.)
Some bread and a half eaten sandwich  (Remember our motto... Just Eat it!)
Fruit - For example, apples, grapes (These should have been eaten or composted.)
Fruit scraps –For example, banana peels (These should have been composted.)
Paper Towels & Soiled Papers - about 5 kg (That’s slightly less than last year.)
LOTS of paper towels from bathrooms 
    (We need to expand the green bin program to include bathrooms.)
Paper towels from classrooms, primarily kindergarten & daycare rooms 
     (Let’s encourage everyone to use the city compost more often.)

Real Garbage - a.k.a. LANDFILL - about 13 kg  (Yikes... that’s 5 kg more than last year!)
LOTS of snack wrappers and chip bags  (What can we do to reduce this?)
Lots of ‘Dixie’ cups  (Reusable cups are best.)
18 coffee cups (This is more than last year.  Reusable mugs are best.)
Photocopy carbons
Laminated posters (Did these really need to be laminated?)
Lots of craft materials, like string, lace, beads, glue, fabrics, table cloth, etc  
      (We need to think of better ways to have arts and crafts activities.)
Sand (Sand belongs in the sandbox, not the garbage.)
Pencil shavings, dust, dirt

Reusables - about 2 kg  (This is also more than last year.)
Pencils, erasers, markers, sidewalk chalk
     (We need to pick them up before they get swept away.) 
Plastic food containers (These should have been washed and reused.)
2 rolls of tape
Several party hats, still in the package
A plastic caddy (Update: Iraj said he would use this caddy.)
And surprisingly... 2 Halloween Costumes and 3 plastic pumpkins

Now let’s use this information to help us with our waste reductions efforts.  Together, we can Make Less Garbage at Jackman!

December 01, 2016

Waste-Free Wednesdays

Hey Jackman!  It’s your friendly neighbourhood eco team here.  We want to remind you about Jackman's #1 eco goal... MAKE LESS GARBAGE!  One way to accomplish this goal is to pack waste–free lunches and snacks.  So try to pack your food and drinks in reusable containers.  And try to reduce store-bought, individually wrapped lunch foods and snacks.  

We're excited about our new eco project, Waste-Free Wednesdays.  We hope that lots of Jackman kids and families will pack waste-free lunches, especially on Wednesdays.  You see, on Wednesdays in December, we will be counting how many waste-free lunches there are at Jackman.  We're on mission to find the most eco-friendly class.   

And get ready for this... the winning class will get a cookie party, featuring Mr. Cressman’s super-tasty, homemade, waste-free, chocolate-chip cookies.  Mmmmmmmm!

Packing waste-free lunches is a step in the right direction.  So, let's make it happen on Wednesdays (and everyday).  Just one more way we can MAKE LESS GARBAGE at Jackman.