Sustainability at School — A Learner’s Guide
Commingled — to mix together, combine
Compost — a mixture of decaying organic matter
Have you ever stood before the multiple and varied choices of waste receptacles at the school and not been sure of where to put your empty coffee cup, used paper napkin or soda bottle? You are not alone! Blake currently has three streams of waste: commingled recyclables, compost and everything else.
Commingled recyclables include plastic, tin, aluminum and paper. The general rule is that everything your local curbside recycler takes, Blake also takes. Most of the school’s commingled recycling bins are blue or green, but please read the information on the side of the containers to make sure. These bins are where your soda bottle or can should go, along with the paper you were reading.
Compost includes food and any paper-related item used for food. This is where things get a little confusing. Our food service provider, Taher, only purchases compostable goods and either delivers a temporary or has a permanent composting receptacle for most parent events. This means that those funny looking forks and spoons and the tan colored plates that you used at the last Learning Lunch can go in the compost containers. Taher is also purchasing many foods in bulk to save both on packaging and costs. Snacks such as chips, popcorn and pretzels, as well as cereal and yogurt, are purchased in bulk to decrease the use of plastics at our school. Compost containers are typically gray or green and are labeled for further clarification. These containers are where you can put your empty coffee cup (after removing the plastic lid, which goes in the waste basket) and used paper napkin. I have been at events where there is no compost container in sight. If possible, contact the kitchen and they should be able to bring one for you.
Faculty, staff, students and, hopefully, parents are continually updating and improving the waste management systems at Blake. With everyone’s help, Blake can meet its current goals for sustainability.
I would like to thank Café Blake Director Nicolle Thomas and Buildings & Grounds Director Ken Nivala for their help with Blake’s sustainability initiative and for providing the information for this article.