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Waste Not, Want Not at McAuliffe Elementary

Michelle Rice Teaches through Zero Waste Program

 

Students at McAuliffe Elementary School in Highland Village are learning how to recycle in a comprehensive way thanks to teacher Michelle Rice. The Lewisville ISD Education Foundation (LEF) awarded Rice a grant, funded by the City of Highland Village, for her project Zero Waste, a campus-wide recycling and compost plan that has taken hold at McAuliffe.

Starting with weighing and recording the results of all food, recycling and trash during the first two weeks of school, students began to build their recycling plan.

One of the most visual signs of recycling at McAuliffe is the visually descriptive area in the cafeteria hall that directs waste into three colored trash cans: green for composting, blue for recycling, and red for trash. Rice’s students also created a video to help the school’s students learn what goes where.

Students didn’t stop at just recycling. By instituting a Snack Shop for students to donate unopened food, the students encouraged friendly donations to provide snacks to the campus. They also made donations to Kyle’s Place, a local transitional living program for homeless youth. That took hold within the first month of school.

Classes were even encouraged to compete for the least amount of waste. Students also set up classroom recycling. Recycling captains in each class use a 55-gallon bin to collect recycling at the curb. The program has grown from one bin full at the beginning of the year to now consistently filling seven bins. Throughout it all, students continued to sort, weigh, and take data on recycling.

In addition to the plan taking place inside the cafeteria, students also maintained outside composting bins they helped build with the help of a parent. Students were able to utilize the compost they made in the already-established school vegetable garden.

This marks just the beginning of McAuliffe’s recycling program, one which saw parent volunteers, the City of Highland Village, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension SWAt Science With Attitude Educational Outreach Program, and Community Waste Disposal all collaborate to make happen. McAuliffe Elementary plans to continue to grow the program year after year for students to become aware of wasteful habits and how to be better stewards of the environment.

Well done Mrs. Rice and McAuliffe Elementary!