By George Zhou
Waste disposal during lunch expanded on Nov. 1 to include a greater variety of
compostable items. The Environmental Club facilitated this change, directing all types of food and paper waste to a large-scale composting facility in Hamilton, MA.
What to compost or recycle:
Students are now able to compost all food items, not only produce (fruits and vegetables), but also meat, diary, pizza and sandwiches as well. In addition to all paper (bags, coffee cups, certain trays, etc.), plastic-like biodegradable PLA cups can be composted. The items should be placed in the middle two labeled blue bins.
As the lunch trays are biodegradable, they should be composted. Neatly stack them in the labeled blue recycling bins.
Emptied containers, such as bottles and cans, should continue to be recycled.
What not to compost or recycle:
Plastic (grab & go salad trays, straws, bags, packaging, chip and snack food bags, etc.) and Styrofoam (bowls and cups) should not be composted or recycled and should be disposed of properly in the labeled gray bin.
“Conventional wisdom says that changing the high school students’ cafeteria habits is impossible but AHS has proven that wrong,” said Carolyn Dann, a Municipal Assistance Coordinator for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, “Within a week, ninety percent of the AHS students had learned the new program.”
Dann estimates that at least two to three hundred pounds of waste that formally would have been trash can now be composted daily. Additionally, liquid and recycled material diverted away from trash amounts to hundreds of pounds every week.
“Last year, AHS won an award [the Massachusetts State Recycling Award] for its program but this year, the school has gone above and beyond that!” she said, “Keep it up, AHS!”