Thanks to the efforts of five schools in the Issaquah School District, this area is growing a reputation for leading the way when it comes to conservation and being good stewards of our environment.
Cascade Ridge Elementary, Challenger Elementary, Discovery Elementary, Issaquah Middle School and Maywood Middle School were this week honored by King County for their efforts to reduce waste through recycling programs.
The City of Issaquah is helping local schools practice food scrap recycling by providing a food scrap recycling expert and training to staff and students.
“Support from King County and the City of Issaquah has been invaluable in helping our schools to initiate a variety of conservation efforts,” said Issaquah School District resource conservation manager, John Macartney.
Participation in the King County Green Schools Program has grown each year. To date, 10 of King County’s 18 school districts have received assistance or are now participating, and in doing so they have increased recycling, reduced energy and resource consumption, and engaged students in benefiting the environment.
The county’s Green Schools program has helped more than 300 schools cut waste and save resources since its inception in 2003. By providing hands-on assistance, including school visits, tailored recommendations, help with outreach to students and staff, and recycling containers and stickers, the Green Schools Program provides schools and school districts with the support they need to set up and maintain effective conservation practices.
At Cascade Ridge Elementary, the school recycles 58 percent of all the waste it produces, by recycling throughout the school and collecting food scraps in the lunchroom. To ensure the right materials are recycled, students decorated lids and made large signs with recycling instructions.
The school also takes its conservation message into the community by promoting recycling and composting at school-wide events and at events sponsored by the Parent Teacher Student Association.
Maywood Middle School in Renton has increased its recycling rate from 24 percent to a remarkable 62 percent. Through its diligent efforts, the school’s garbage volume decreased from 2,925 gallons per week to 675 gallons per week, resulting in reduced garbage collection costs for the district.
Maywood’s student leaders created a “Go Green” pledge that students signed, committing themselves to recycling and composting at school. These pledges were then posted in the lunchroom to remind students of their commitment.
At Pine Lake Middle School, students formed an “Earth Service Corps,” which took the lead in posting signs and weeding out non-native plants in the school’s gardens.
Ahead of their food scrap recycling initiative with Cedar Grove Composting, more than 40 students volunteered to create signs, monitor the lunchroom and educate fellow students. Several students created a video about food scrap recycling that was shown throughout the school.
The school even spearheaded a “zero waste” locker clean out in which students recycled or donated their school supplies at the end of the school year.
These are just some of the great stories emerging for the school district which demonstrate the great commitment of young students and our educators to minimizing their impact on the environment.
To learn more, visit the King County Green Schools program Web site at your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/greenschools