Press Release: Maple Street Students Host Trash Audit

Contoocook, NH – On Oct. 10, with a backdrop of beautiful fall foliage, students at Maple Street Elementary School conducted a school waste audit, known as Trash On the Lawn Day (TOLD). NRRA Educators Cindy Sterling and Heather Herring from NRRA’s School Recycling Club, trained sixty-six sixth-grade students how to identify and pull recyclables from a sampling of typical school trash.

Outfitted with recyclable gloves, each group of students was given several bags of trash which were weighed, sorted into bins, then weighed again producing volume data for a final report. When sorting was completed the students had a visual and quantifiable record of how much of their “trash” could have been diverted from the landfill. While the students have a good recycling program in place, including a school garden with chickens, they saw opportunities to improve their efforts. They were surprised by the amount of food waste they produced and that launched a discussion about composting. The students were instructed about the impact of recycling on natural resources and landfill space.

Special guests Bonnie Christie and Rosalie Smith, from the Hopkinton Recycling Committee, assisted the students and talked about how the Transfer Station operates. Special guest Reagan Bissonnette, Executive Director of NRRA, helped to document this fun and educational event.

Many thanks to sixth-grade teacher Ted Wells for his tremendous support throughout the day. Special thanks to Custodian Deb Boutwell, who provided invaluable assistance with logistics. This event would not have been possible without the enthusiastic support of Principal Amy Doyle and Superintendent Steve Chamberlin, who authorized this all-day educational event.

Thanks to funding provided by the Hopkinton Recycling Committee, along with a generous matching grant from New Hampshire the Beautiful, this technical assistance training was free to the school.