We Future Cycle was honored to be invited to the Barnard PTA meeting, kicking off the effort of this years Co-President Bryan Grossbauer to embrace Zero Waste at all school related events. Parents had heard from their little troopers about the recycling in the lunchroom but were quite astonished to learn just HOW good their kids were in terms of source separation. Barnard has consistently less that 1 pound of trash at the end of lunch.
The presentation walked through the steps of the program, shared the impressive reduction numbers of consistently in the high 90% and educated parents to where the garbage goes and its unbelievable cost to the tax payer.
However, we can not recycle our way to Zero Waste. Reduction and elimination of non-recyclable materials are the only ways to get closer towards Zero Waste.
Holding up a juice pouch, I asked parents how they liked them and a lively discussion about different brands started. There was a shocked silence, when I shared just how much I hated them. Someone contributed that they are just so convenient to put into their kids lunchbox. I began explaining that juice pouches offer no visual control of the product inside, students have a hard time putting the straw in and most get messy while doing it, leaving them with sticky fingers to be conveniently wiped on their pants.
But the worst about juice pouches is that they are non-recyclable. They end up in the trash, being trucked to the incinerated to be burnt there, with the ash subsequently being trucked to PA to be landfilled. Westchester County sends 2500 tons of garbage to the incinerator every single day, at a cost of $200,000 per day.
Our idea of convenience is actually very very inconvenient. Not just in terms of the cost to society and the environment, but also for our kids. They just learned how bad garbage is and still …… are made to contribute to it….. everyday.
The best way to be zero waste is to send reusables to school with the students, reinforcing the environmental lessons they are learning.
And Barnard PTA has just pledge to do that.