News : Students dig trash to learn about recycling, composting

Mar 10, 2010

Courtesy of The Portsmouth Herald

By Abbie Hackett

PORTSMOUTH — Sporting plastic gloves and aprons, students in Bryan Mascio's science class picked through soggy lettuce, Styrofoam trays smeared with ketchup and leaky coffee cups in the lunchroom at Robert J. Lister Academy recently, as they sought to reduce waste from the school.

They succeeded.

It was the kickoff to a study unit focusing on achieving zero waste with guest demonstrators Rian Bedard, Marcel Miranda and Karina Quintans from The Zero Waste Portsmouth Group. ZWP was founded by the Islington Creek Neighborhood Association in 2009 and partners with Tim Gaudreau Studios and Eco Movement to promote zero waste policies and programs in the city.

"It's just a matter of us knowing what can be recycled," Miranda said. "Every one of us has the ability to make a difference."

Bedard agreed, adding people don't have "to get solar panels on your roof" to help the environment.

Bedard and Miranda, co-owners of Eco Movement, a local zero waste consulting and hauling firm, emptied two trash bags on either side of a tarp on the lunchroom floor. They challenged the class to distribute the waste into three color-coded trash cans lined with compostable bags made from corn. The cans were labeled compost, recyclables and landfill, and their purpose was to demonstrate that 19 pounds of waste does not need to end up in a landfill, and that single-source recycling and composting can be easy....

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