Waste Free Wednesday is back.
On April 20, 2016, the City of Issaquah and the Issaquah School District will celebrate Waste Free Wednesday. For the second year, we're partnering to encourage students to waste less, and recycle and compost more during their lunches.
On Earth Day 2015, the City of Issaquah and the Issaquah School District partnered to issue a Waste Free Wednesday challenge to all schools in the district to see which could generate the least amount of waste during lunch.
Schools educated students, staff and parents about waste reduction by making presentations at lunch, creating posters, having Green Team members monitor disposal stations in the cafeteria, and working with PTSAs to develop reusable options for service ware.
Almost 15,000 people at 19 schools generated only 421 pounds of waste. That's an average of just 22 pounds per school, and about half an ounce of waste per student. (That's less than the weight of three U.S. quarters!)
The goal for this year will be to lower that amazing total even more.
To put these totals into perspective, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that:
- The average lunch period generates 67 pounds of waste.
- A total of 3.5 billion pounds of lunch room waste is generated nationally every year.
- Nearly 113 billion disposable cups, 39 billion disposable eating utensils and 29 billion disposable plates are used in throughout the United States every year.
Every lunch you pack is an opportunity to save money and reduce waste. Let's get packing!
- Start with packing lunches in a reusable lunch box or bag.
- Replace single-use bags, containers, plastic utensils and drink containers with durable versions that can be washed and reused.
- Buy food in bulk quantities and put daily servings in reusable bags or containers. Packing food in reusable containers also makes it easier for kids to bring home any leftover foods to eat as a snack later on, thereby reducing the amount of food that has to be discarded.