Green Team Conducts Waste Audit

The High School Green Team, as part of a larger research project, conducted a Waste Audit at West Park Elementary School and here are their top findings:

IMG_459385% of all trash (by weight) was composed of compostable items, mainly lunch food but some paper towels and tissue.

7% of all trash by weight was milk cartons (which can be recycled if we find a way to work with the landfill).  By volume, 1/3 of all trash was milk cartons.  Let’s fix this!milk carton

Only 5% of all items thrown away were actually meant for the landfill: chip wrappers, styrofoam, straws, plastic film.

Good news, only 2% of all trash could have been recycled.  This means that West Park custodial staff, students and teachers are doing an excellent job of recycling.

Over the course of the school-year, West Park produces 35,434 pounds of compost.  If we compost these items, which we plan to do this fall, we will reduce 80,995 pounds of carbon from the earth’s atmosphere annually.


Did you know that when sent to the landfill, organic matter gives off methane gas, a critical greenhouse gas?  Municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States, accounting for approximately 18 percent of human relate methane emissions.  Not only should organic matter be turned into soil, a valuable product, it should be allowed to aerobically decompose, not produce harmful greenhouse gases through landfill processes.

What are we going to do about it?

Start a compost program in the Fall!  Continue to improve recycling programs.