• PGUSD Sustainability Plan

    The first step in the Pacific Grove Unified School district’s “Sustainability Plan” will be inaugurated at Forest Grove Elementary when the Zero Waste Lunch Program is at a kick-off assembly there on January 26.
    The primary goal of the program is to implement a waste reduction/composting program that diverts as much as 50 percent of lunchroom waste. It is hoped the program will saves the school hundreds of dollars in waste hauling fees each month.
    But there’s more to the program than sorting trash, according to coordinator Kristin Cushman, who is also the mother of two Forest Grove Elementary School students. There will be educational and outreach components that “create a successful community experience,” she says.
    “This program teaches children to be social entrepreneurs and gives them a tool to realize that being proactive can ultimately make a difference,” say school officials. “‘ Recycle Rangers,’ a group of elementary students who form the Student Council, will monitor the program on a daily basis and help create the educational and marketing components on campus.” They will create awareness among their fellow students by making suigns, working in the lunch room, and monitoring the progress of sorting of materials. They will identify trash and make sure that it’s going in the right bins, and, says Cushman, “over time hopefully they’ll think of fun ways they can market” the program to the entire student body.
    One of the questions they’ll be looking at as they learn what it means to have a “zero waste lunch” is how to pack a lunch that has zero waste, using recyclable or reusable packaging, for example. “If they are eating a hot lunch n the cafeteria, they’ll learn to look at it and determine what can be recycled and how to go about doing that.
    They won’t be composting their uneaten lunches at first, but officials hope they’ll be doing that by the end of this school year.
    The program will begin with fourth graders.
    Pacific Grove Unified School District has partnered with the Monterey Regional Waste Management District and The Offset Project to implement education and oversight of this program. They have provided 10 recycling bins to the school, and will also donated signage to help children properly divide up their recyclables.
    “The Sustainability Plan is a long term vision for our District to be completed over the next 5 years.,” says Craig Beller, interim principal of Forest Grove Elementary School. “The vision includes waste reduction and composting programs, energy use reduction plans and reestablishing and/or creating school gardens that will be used to fulfill curriculum and strengthen our communities on campus.”
    They hope to take the program district-wide in the 2009-10 school year, first to Robert Down, then to the middle school and the high school. Eventually, in their five-year plan, they hope to incorporate a farm-to-school project.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on January 9, 2009

    Topics: Front PG News, Schools

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