Chestnut Hill Academy collects trash for Earth Week

Bellevue’s Chestnut Hill Academy used Earth Week to visualize how much of an impact it made on the area’s landfills every week.

The elementary school on Southeast 26th Street decided to collect the thrown-away food during lunch periods and weigh them.

Monique Stuart-German, the school’s director of student services, said a select group of students were in charge.

“Our Green Team students provided helpful tips and informative facts related to each day’s theme during morning announcements, and also helped focus student efforts around waste management during lunch periods,” she said. “At the end of each lunch period, Green Team students helped weigh the compost bins to calculate and chart food waste for each lunch period. While we didn’t see a progressive decrease across consecutive days of the week, we definitely saw greater awareness and interest in strategizing to minimize food waste, and a significant improvement in sorting practices for recycling, trash, and compost – such that when we dumped our trash out on a tarp in the Café (which we thought would be a dramatic, messy event), there was really only one small pile.”

Stuart-German said the students also tracked the number of students with waste-free lunches each day (home lunches packed with reusable containers rather than disposable, or school lunches mostly consumed), raffled off nature-themed books for students with waste-free lunches, also gave parents kudos for supporting their students’ eco-friendly efforts.

“We finished out the week with several classes working in the school garden, weeding and planting,” she said.