5th Grade Paper Towel Waste Diversion Project

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Shoot for Compost!
The Lopez School’s 5th Grade students determined that their biggest impact in waste reduction would be to divert all the paper towels from the trash to the school garden’s compost. They took the Zero Waste Challenge in March and realized that the bulk of the waste they produced in the classroom was from paper towels. During their studies they learned not only about aerobic versus anaerobic composting, but that for every pound of compostable material kept out of the landfill, a pound of carbon is kept out of the atmosphere. Participating in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions was part of their motivation for composting.

To make the composting effort more fun, the students came up with the concept of (paper towel) Basket-Ball, hence the motto: “Shoot for Compost”. Each homeroom classroom in the primary school has been provided a dedicated trash can for paper towels, with a decorated backboard so students may ball up their paper towels and “shoot” for compost. The school’s garden program will make use of the paper towels in their compost. Eventually Lopez School will replace paper towels in all school bathrooms with hand dryers, but for hygiene reasons paper towels will be kept in primary school classrooms.

The 5th graders gave a wonderful presentation about their findings to the entire primary school and teachers at the Earth Day Assembly on April 21. Many thanks to Alex Nellie, their teacher, who helped them shape a presentation, create the backboards, and go into the classes each Monday to remind students that only paper towels go into the dedicated bins. Take It or Leave It contributed containers for each classroom and the students pick up the baskets every Friday for delivery to the garden.