StopWaste at School


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Livermore High

Livermore High School has a long tradition of establishing creative systems to reduce waste, improve recycling and reuse materials. The school has won multiple grants to install indoor and outdoor recycling stations throughout the campus including hard to serve areas like the football stadium and gym. Livermore is the recipient of a Green California Partnership Career Academy grant to establish a green career pathway program for students and is working to expand participation in green practices by teachers, students and community members.

Students Design Tray Stacking Retrofit

Tray Stacking RetrofitTray Stacking RetrofitWhen Livermore High's AP Environmental Science students poured out the waste bins in the science quad and examined what they threw away at LHS, a large portion of the material was compostable or recycle-able cardboard food trays from our cafeteria. Take out the trays, and the waste stream reduced by nearly 50%.

Fast food restaurants do this already by supplying a place for customers to stack their trays.

This started APES/Green Engineering students on a project to design and build tray holders that would fit the tops of the school's recycle stations. The simpler-the-better. Clear signage, coordinated school colors, strong materials. Angles, assembly surfaces, and attachments points were all designed and a prototype was built.

Design schematicDesign schematicIf everything works as planned, students would not need instruction. The use of the tray should be intuitive! The prototype is generating stacks of cardboard trays,demonstrating proof of the concept.

The next step was to coordinate with custodians. Head Custodian, Mr. Malaca, indicated that custodians will appreciate hauling a smaller quantity of material to the trash compactor, and that the cardboard trays will be taken to the paper/cardboard bin for reycling.

Republished from The LHS Recycling Blog

Compostumbler at Livermore High

Composting on CampusComposting on CampusNow that Livermore High is separating out a fair amount of compostable material at they needed more places to compost it. The school has built compost bins in the past, and has four commercially purchased box shaped composters. However turning over the compost, and keeping rodents out of the composting apples and bread can be a problem.

The solution has been to install the Commercial sized Compostumbler. Purchase was made possible with grant money from the Altamont Education Advisory Board.

Compostumbler AssemblyCompostumbler AssemblyStudents collect compostables from the campus recycling station "compost" bins. Most materials need to be cleansed of non-compostable materials, and broken into small pieces. Yard trimmings, both green and dried/brown are mixed in. Periodically the crank is turned, and the entire batch is turned over within the Compostumbler. The compost is finally placed in planter boxes in the school's organic garden.

Assembly turned out to be fairly detailed, and luckily the young lady bolting this together was able to escape prior to final assembly.

Republished from The LHS Recycling Blog

Native Plants and Drip Irrigation

Tree Planting at Livermore HighTree Planting at Livermore HighWestern Redbuds and Ceanothus are blooming alongside the Science Quad at Livermore High School! This Eagle Scout project used concepts from the school's AP Environmental Science Class: California native plants, and an efficient drip irrigation system.

From the standpoint of the student, much of this project was in design and coordination with the school authorities. Consultation and approval were needed from the Principal, and with the grounds keepers, and with the AP Environmental Science teacher. Approval to tap into the watering system, along with designing the pressure step-down and filtration system was no small task.

Soil preparation, excavation, drainage as well as planting, and eventual coverage with mulch was planned out and implemented by the student project leader.

California native plants which belong in the Livermore Valley will succeed for many years. Consultation at Alden Lane nursery led to choosing the Redbud and Ceanothus. California natives, along with use of drip irrigation systems, will reduce Livermore High's use of a precious resource, fresh water.

Republished from The LHS Recycling Blog

Students Re-engineer Bin Latches

Students redesigned latches to keep bin doors closedStudents redesigned latches to keep bin doors closedThis project involved redesigning how the Livermore High School recycle station doors are held shut. When purchased, patient the LHS recycle station doors had keyed locks. This seemed sensible, and but the locks on the doors were soon broken open by people who come on campus to take the plastic and aluminum for CRV. The solution: stop locking the doors. This resulted in reduced breakage of doors, recipe but the doors would flop open. Open doors looked bad, would break off, and the gulls would get in and pull out a mess of litter.

Green Engineering Academy students in AP Environmental Science students took on this project. The keyed locks were removed. A latch was designed to replaced the lock. Preliminary work investigated using welded metal latches, or built-up latches using available steel hardware. Magnets were tried. 

Latch made from dowel rodsLatch made from dowel rods

Eventually a decision was made to use Poplar wood doweling. A 3/4 inch dowel and a 1/4 dowel peg supplied the needed fix. Using the "Simpler is Better" model, the latches were easy to understand, simple to make, and inexpensive. Students were able to measure, drill, and cut the material onsite with available tools. This was better  than welding or grinding metal.

The result is a simple, functional latch that keeps the doors closed. Repair and replacement should be simple.

Republished from the LHS Recycling Blog

Promoting Recycling Through Media

Livermore High's AP Environmental Science students collaborated with the school's video production team to create an environmentally themed edition of the school's video news: Cowboy Alley. Hosted by the Lorax, the news episode features a short Public Service Announcement developed by the science students.