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May 2, 2013


MRH Elementary Students Compete for Earth Day Honor

April 22 was Earth Day. To raise awareness of how our actions personally affect our planet,  MRH Elementary 6th graders lead an Earth Day contest all this week during lunch to see which grade level could recycle and compost the most and throw away the least amount of landfill waste. The grade levels were competing for 25 minutes of extra recess.

The week before the contest, Sixth grade students visited younger grade level classes to educate them on what goes into compost, recycling and trash bins, and to answer any questions. They wanted to make sure that all the students understood the contest and were ready to waste less.  “When planning this event, 6th graders decided that compost weight and recycling weight would be worth positive points, and trash (landfill) weight would be worth negative points.” explained Laura Tetley, MRHE’s Garden Co-ordinator. 

Three separate bins were set up in the cafeteria; one for compost, one for trash, and one for recycling. Sixth graders weighed the bins after each lunch period. “We were all a little surprised at the amount of negative points,” said Tetley. “It will be interesting to continue this conversation with students to try to find new ways to keep trash out of landfills and waste less.”

By the end of the afternoon on April 26th, the totals had been calculated declaring Fourth Grade winners of the extra recess.

Some of what we learned during this process:

  • MRH Elementary students produced a total of 290.5 lbs of lunchroom trash during the week.
  • They also collected 138 lbs of compostable materials.
  • This averaged out to right around 1lb of compost-waste/trash per student each week in the cafeteria.

While it is important to recycle and compost -  it is equally important to curb waste. (Putting what’s left of your apple in the compost bin is good, but if you are only going to take one bite out of that apple, then the amount of food you have wasted negates much of the good you do when you compost.) MRHE students are very fortunate to have many healthy choices in what they consume in our lunchroom. After the lessons learned during Earth Day week, they will no doubt continue to strive toward balance in making choices that are also healthy for our planet.

For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.