Christine Rath, Interim Superintendent
30 Linden Street
Exeter, NH 03833
For Immediate Release
Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Kensington Elementary School Sorts More Than 129 Pounds of Waste During Trash On the Lawn Day
Event Designed to Illustrate the Importance of Recycling and Composting
KENSINGTON — In an effort to raise awareness about the negative effects trash can have on the environment and to encourage more students to recycle, Kensington Elementary School sorted through 129.25 pounds of waste during Trash on the Lawn Day earlier this month.
Throughout the day on Oct. 5, students in kindergarten through fifth grade headed outside to sort and analyze multiple days’ worth of trash at KES. The event was organized in part with the Northeast Resource Recovery Association’s Recycling CLUB, a nonprofit organization that assists schools with implementing, maintaining and improving recycling programs, and partially funded from a New Hampshire the Beautiful grant.
Gwen Erley, Sarah McGraw and Ryan Stewart from the Recycling Club trained 105 students on how to identify and pull recyclables from a sampling of typical school trash. The group also provided KES with tarps, gloves, sorting bins and scales to assist with the activity, and prepared a report following the event detailing the amount of savings the school could incur with a larger recycling program.
Students were given seven bags of trash from areas throughout the school (except the bathroom and nurse’s office) that accumulated over a three day period. Each bag was weighed, sorted, then weighed again. A bag of cafeteria food waste was also sorted to illustrate how much could have been diverted to composting or animal feed. The total weight of these bags unsorted was 129.25 pounds.
While sorting, students played trivia and games that related to the event that third grade students designed. Students also helped create a classroom worm bin as part of their studies on environmentally conscious practices, which was on display to show the importance of keeping contaminants, such as plastics, out of the food waste.
Analyzing the trash and food waste revealed that 80 pounds of food waste and 13 pounds of paper, plastics and metals could have been recycled. This translates to an approximately $555 annual revenue for the school, and about $980 dollars in savings a year from disposal fees and recycling revenue.
“It may have been a messy day on the field, but the learning was immediate and meaningful,” Principal Becky Ruel said. “The very next day, students were inspired to take action in the lunchroom to reduce the food waste in our garbage. They were immediately aware that they can make a difference in our school.”
Principal Ruel would like to thank KES Teacher Sarah McCarthy, who helped spearhead the event, making arrangements to have three student helpers for each of the groups, along with the KES custodial staff, especially Head Custodian Matt Andrews, who were very helpful with logistics, set up and clean up.
Kensington Elementary School will use the information collected from Trash on the Lawn day to help students, faculty and staff make more informed decisions about what they throw away.