Student leaders assess their school's waste output and lead their peers in the waste reduction campaigns of their choice. By empowering students, our schools will divert millions of pounds from the landfill this year and create mindful future leaders who hold sustainability close to their hearts. We see schools through our program at a low cost and could add 5 new schools if we meet our project goal, increasing our impact by over 5,000 students.
Landfills are the 3rd largest source of man-made methane emissions in the US. On average, landfills contain 45% organic waste, making it the largest source of material found in landfills. The US has a recycling rate of 34%, lower than many other developed countries. With an insignificant improvement over the last 20 years, teaching young students how to properly recycle and compost waste is imperative. Culturally, a shift toward a more sustainable future begins with the next generation.
We assist each school in setting up a student led Green Team and provide guidance on their chosen waste reduction projects. Our staff guide the students through a simple waste audit to set a baseline from which the school can plan and track its waste management progress. It is important for students to see the waste stream they're creating and understand what happens to something when they, "throw it away." Our project not only reduces waste in the present, but builds a brighter future as well.
By introducing children to environmentally responsible behavior at the elementary school age, Green Up Our Schools maximizes lasting impact the program has on students. For the current school year, 2017-2018, Green Up Our Schools has programs in 20 schools, 4 districts, and is engaging with over 20,000 students in Colorado alone. This project will allow us to reach more students and more schools, creating a more sustainable future for us all.