Sustainable New Jersey is a certification program for municipalities in New Jersey that want to go green, save money, and take steps to sustain their quality of life over the long term.
On September 28, 2011, a waste audit was conducted at Harrington Park School. The waste audit was conducted as part of the town’s certification program. But at the same time we hope it can serve as a lesson to the children, the lesson being: their garbage doesn’t just disappear once they throw it in a can; and most of it can be – reused, composted or recycled.
The waste audit/assessment was conducted on the trash disposed at the all lunch periods on Wednesday, September 28th. The lunch served at school was pizza, chicken nuggets and bagels.
*There were 684 students in school On September 28th
*337 students ordered pizza
*33 students ordered chicken nuggets or bagels
*The remaining 314 students brought lunch from home
*61 cardboard pizza boxes were recycled (This was the only paper recycled)
*ONE 10 gallon trash can was filled with plastic bottles to be recycled (Many plastic bottles were found in the trash)
*Only a few items were placed in aluminum recycling (Most were disposed of in the trash)
*No milk containers or other paper recyclables were recycled (I reviewed our hauler, Waste Management’s procedures, and all paper including dairy and juice containers are accepted for recycling)
*In addition, it should be noted that ALL recyclables including cardboard, paper, brown bags, newspapers, paperboard (i.e. tissue boxes, cereal boxes), paper dairy and juice containers, junk mail, phone books, plastic, glass, aluminum – including foil, steel and tin, CAN ALL be co-mingled in paper recycling.
*Plastic bags, plastic wrap and Styrofoam may not be included in the recycling.
*Eight bags of trash were produced – the average weight was 10.2 pounds per bag, for a total of 81.6 pounds that day.
45% paper and dairy containers (recyclable)
25% food waste, including compostable chip bags
20% plastic, aluminum and tin recyclables
10% actual garbage (mostly plastic wrap and bags)
*After sorting materials that should have been recycled, or could have been composted, 1 bag of trash remained that weighed 8.2 pounds.
Submitted by Green Team member Theresa Hazelton