Congratulations to our Waste Free Wednesday challenge winners: Apollo Elementary, Issaquah Middle and Issaquah High schools!
To celebrate Earth Day, we joined the Issaquah School District to issue a Waste Free Wednesday challenge to every school in the district.
The challenge was an opportunity for schools to become more aware of their own waste generation and also see how they compared to others throughout the district.
Districtwide, 19 schools representing almost 15,000 students and staff, accepted the challenge. On Earth Day, the entire district only generated 421 pounds of lunch waste. Per student, that’s about half an ounce of waste on average — or less than the weight of three quarters!
On Earth Day, schools weighed their cafeteria waste in the presence of a community waste auditor, including representatives from the cities of Issaquah and Bellevue, local businesses and community organizations. We supported the schools with scales and posters detailing what is recyclable, compostable and garbage.
• Apollo, first place
• Issaquah Valley, second place
• Cougar Ridge, third place
Apollo’s 600 students generated only 2 pounds of waste for the whole school — the same weight as a 2-month-old kitten! Its program included student and staff monitors that helped students properly sort materials.
Issaquah Valley generated less than 5 pounds of waste for its 624 students and Cougar Ridge generated less than 5 pounds of waste for its 610 students.
To recognize the achievement, each elementary school received a creature clock made of recycled materials.
Issaquah Middle ranked as the top middle school. Its almost 800 students and staff generated less than 7 pounds of trash at lunch. The student green team worked hard to motivate students in the cafeteria, made videos and announcements, and participated in activities.
Issaquah High ranked as the top high school. Its more than 2,000 students generated approximately 120 pounds of waste. Students and staff created videos and announcements to educate students on ways to reduce waste.
Issaquah Middle and Issaquah High received banners to display on campus.
A big winner of the challenge is the environment. Each school was able to reduce waste. In addition, the actions students and staff developed, and the behavior changes they adopted, will foster a culture change that will last long after Earth Day.