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Chenery Eliminates Styrofoam

Dec 20


Wednesday, December 20, 2017  RssIcon

Compostable TrayThanks to Dustin O'Brien, Director of Belmont Food Services and Mike McAllister, Principal of the Chenery Middle School, Chenery students now receive their lunches on compostable trays! This change significantly reduces Styrofoam tray usage in the Belmont Public Schools. 

Trash Bashers (a student group who supervise and assist with recycling in the cafeteria)Currently BPS uses approximately 260,000 single-use Styrofoam trays per school year. According to the EPA, polystyrene (Styrofoam) accounts for close to 30% of landfill volume, where it can lead to soil and water contamination.  In Belmont, we incinerate these trays, along with all other trash and food waste. This introduces carbon dioxide and other toxins to the environment. A full stream—recycling, liquid pour off, tipping and stacking of trays, composting (food and trays), and food recovery—in the Belmont Public Schools, would divert about 85% of the current volume of school trash away from landfills and incinerators. These changes could save Belmont over $80,000 per school year as they would reduce the need for daily trash pickup at each school thus reducing the waste hauling costs. A composting service would pick up food waste and recycle nutrients back to the soil. 

The introduction of compostable trays at Chenery and an expanded recycling stream is just the first step in an initiative proposed by the Belmont PTO/PTA Green Alliance to reduce the environmental impact of our schools. The next step is the addition of composting and then extension of the entire expanded stream to all of the Belmont Public Schools. 

Trash Bashers (a student group who supervise and assist with recycling in the cafeteria)As stated in the fifth grade science unit about green living-- “Taking care of our planet is necessary and is EVERYONE’S responsibility; The choices we make about how we treat our waste can and will have long term effects; The natural resources of our planet must be protected.” We teach our children to “reduce, reuse and recycle”. These changes are a start on the path to positive change. 

Thank you to Mr. McAllister, Mr. Lewis and Mr. Hartunian, and to Gene O’Brien and the Custodians and Cafeteria Staff at Chenery for their support of these ongoing changes. Thank you to Mr. Ligon, Teacher, Grade 6 Science, for his activism and creation of the Trash Bashers (a student group who supervise and assist with recycling in the cafeteria), and to the Chenery students for advocating for change and working to change behaviors and habits. 

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