Project Title: No Disposables
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Moratorium on Waste at St. John's

By: lking

During the 2011-2012 academic year at St. John's, we formed a "No Disposables" initiative which began by ridding ourselves of disposables in the teachers' workrooms.  This initiative began with faculty / staff participation.  As educators and staff members, we were made aware of the amount of waste that is generated by ourselves and our students on a daily basis.  Our mission, therefore, was, initially, to become aware of the amount of waste that is generated by ourselves and our students on a daily basis.  Next, we endeavored to become mentors and examples to our students of the responsible use of disposables.  

Students and teachers were encouraged to use reusable water bottles or refill one plastic bottle on a daily basis for an extended period of time.  Additionally, to get the faculty on board the bandwagon of conservation and reuse, we issued blue cloth bags as an incentive to use reusable, recycled bags exclusively for such tasks as buying groceries and transporting materials.   

Teachers, this year, modeled the no-disposables initiative by cleaning out all cupboards of plastic, paper, or styrofoam cups and mugs.  Lunchware and utensils in the teachers' workrooms were converted to ceramic and stainless steel, and faculty and staff were urged to see to it that styrofoam was phased out completely.  We now have drying racks for dishes, mugs, and cups in both the workrooms and the galley kitchen. 

Teachers and staff are now using fewer paper towels, and our future move is to provide countertop or wall holders for sponges, rags, and cloth towels which will be changed out when necessary. 

Reusable water receptacles, a move towards ceramics and stainless steel, and the use of cloth instead of plastic bags--all these constitute the first steps in our ongoing quest for a greener school. 

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