Two years ago the Sprouts of Hope, a Roots & Shoots group in Cambridge, MA, went to city's school committee to tell them why we thought we should stop having to use polystyrene lunch trays at our school. The members of the committee seemed very interested and listened to what we had to say. We wrote them a thank you note to tell them how much we appreciated them listening to our ideas and asked them again about changing the trays. About a month later, we went back to talk to them again -- and this time we read our thank you note --and then they passed a motion to require the superintendent to look for environmentally friendly alternatives to how we were using the trays in our cafeteria.
Here's a picture of two of the Cambridge Can members on our first day of composting.
Our science teacher Donna Peruzzi was always there to help us come up with ideas for how to get other kids really excited about the program. And here's a picture of her using the compost barrel in the cafeteria.
You can see pictures of Randi, below on the right, and Meryl, on the left, when they were helping us to do the composting that first day.
The younger kids got to see a slide show that the Sprouts of Hope had made of students at King Open bringing eco-friendly containers and recycling their polystyrene trays during Waste Free Lunch days on days when we tried doing them at our school.
We had student monitors who'd been trained to help other students and they got to wear aprons with our mascot on the front. They gave the kids good hints about how to put their waste in the right buckets. My mom took pictures and videos of the kids composting and saying how excited they are about doing this! When you watch the YouTube video about our first day -- you can find the link above -- and you'll get a good sense of how excited everyone was about doing the composting.
I knew that it would go well because the grown-ups in our school -- like Principal Tim -- and those from other places like the Department of Public Works helped us to be sure it did. But I didn’t think that it would go that well!! And Principal Tim said at our assembly how kids can be the ones who have good ideas and why it's important for grown-ups to listen to their ideas and find ways to help to make them happen. This is what happened with this idea -- since it started with kids talking about replacing the trays and ended up with us doing composting as a first step.