RE Sources offers schools, cafeterias, and districts the tools and training to reduce their waste and save money. What most parents don’t see when they send their kid off with lunch money or a sack lunch is this: a line of students one after the other tossing away whole apples, untouched sandwiches, reusable bags, and unopened juice boxes. One lunch hour in a school cafeteria can produce hundreds of pounds of landfill-bound garbage. When considering the impact of methane, a potent greenhouse gas produced when food waste decomposes, the issue of cafeteria waste comes becomes even more urgent.
Reducing waste, reusing materials, recycling, and using recycled products saves schools energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and landfill overflow, and saves the school money. Working with school district administrators, food service, and custodial directors, we help to implement better waste systems. We also work with students and educators to understand waste issues and sort their trash, and with school gardens to teach composting.
What we offer:
School-wide Waste Audits
We offer school-wide waste audits to help schools understand how much of their current landfill-bound garbage could be recycled or composted. Waste audits also allow users to visualize the difference between types of trash.
We also offer in-class education on the larger ecological, social, and economic issues related to waste — like landfill overflow, water contamination, climate change, and hunger. Through hands-on lessons that break down complex issues in a supportive environment, our curriculum meets state standards and leaves a lasting impression. The skills learned at school will be brought home through educational materials.
Cafeteria Food Recovery
Since many children eat breakfast and most eat lunch while at school, schools present the perfect venue for kids to learn about food recovery and food waste. We can assist in the design of user-friendly cafeteria food recovery and waste stations to be used consistently across the district. This facilitates food disposal and emphasizes the use of intuitive signage that works for multiple learning styles and developmental stages. Then, we train students and school staff to use those systems. We lead educational sessions for custodians and food service staff so they know what food should be disposed of and what can be reclaimed.
Composting in the Garden
With our partner Common Threads Farm, we show staff and students alike how food waste can be easily broken down — without creating methane, a much stronger climate-heating gas than carbon dioxide — into soil nutrients by building and maintaining an on-site compost pile. We help alleviate concerns about rodents, contamination, and answer other questions about composting. Those schools that have opted out of school garden education are encouraged to utilize the area’s Food Plus composting service, which is a tremendous cost saving compared to landfill garbage disposal.