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Best Practices in Lunch Time Waste Reduction at Walters Jr. High


Food Share Cart at WaltersFood Share Cart at WaltersThe 7th an 8th grade students at Walters Junior High School in Fremont are recycling and composting Super Stars. This is clear when visiting the outdoor lunch area during the noon hour. They are well versed in knowing the correct bin in which to put their milk cartons, pizza boxes and aluminums cans. Before dropping a container into the right bin, they even pour out any remaining liquid. This not only helps limit the amount of liquid that gets trapped in a bin and contaminates recyclable materials, but is also keeping a nearby tree very healthy.

Key features of Walters Jr High's lunch time waste reduction efforts:

  • Food share cart allows students to divert un-opened, un-eaten food to other students
  • Monitored disposal station keeps recyclables, compost and landfill bins free from contamination
  • Tray stacking helps to reduce the volume of recyclable/compostable food trays and pizza boxes
  • Diversion of hard-to-recycle items like mylar chip bags, which are collected for terracycle
  • Collection of reusable items like bottle caps which are used in art projects on campus

The Walters Junior High School students are fortunate to have a wonderful Foods class teacher that is also very engaged with recycling and composting on campus. Everyone at school knows Ms. McDowell for not only her awesome class, but also her passion for recycling and waste reduction. She provides the students with a special cart that she created to help students separate items that would otherwise go into the landfill. Empty chip bags are set aside for special recycling and uneaten food items are spared from going to waste. Students who help out with the cart during lunchtime get first choice of any tasty drinks or sandwiches that are left on the cart.

Walters Junior High school has one of the cleanest outdoor lunch areas in Alameda County. The custodial staff is amazed with the amount of recycling and composting that is done every day. Even Principal Weems is so impressed and proud that not only is his schoolyard clean, but that the 7th and 8th graders have such a strong commitment to their learning community and their environment.