By Todd Moen, Editor
The effectiveness and efficiency of the "3-2-1 You’re Done" organic waste collection system used at Bayview Elementary School in Waconia recently earned District 110 a cash prize of $5,000 and a plaque from the Jeffers Foundation, which strives to teach young people the value of wise stewardship of natural resources.
In February, the Jeffers Foundation encouraged all public and non-public schools in Minnesota to apply for the Jeffers Foundation State WRAP (Waste Reduction Awareness Program) Award, which was created to recognize schools for outstanding achievement in the area of reducing food and non-food waste in school lunch programs.
At Bayview, the "3-2-1 You’re Done" organic waste collection system applies to all lunchroom waste. It has been in use for the past two school years.
All students and staff members use the system, which has participants sort out organic, non-organic recyclable and non-recyclable waste into three separate containers.
School officials say that the system, along with other organic recycling and waste reduction practices (such as producing "just the right amount of food" for each lunch), has helped Bayview reduce its non-recyclable food waste by 85 percent.
Barb Schank, the Director of Child Nutrition, and Dave Grandy, the Director of Building and Grounds, work with Bayview’s Food Service Manager and nutrition and custodial staff to oversee the system and the other efforts.
The school district applied for the award early this spring and received word that Bayview was one of the winners in May. Bayview, along with Clara Barton School in Minneapolis and Garlough Environmental Magnet School in West St. Paul, each received a cash award of $5,000 and a plaque recognizing them for receiving the award.
Paul W. Oberg, CEO of Jeffers Foundation, visited Bayview on May 18 to present the school with its award and congratulate the students and staff at Bayview
for their outstanding effort in reducing waste in their schools.
"It’s real nice (to receive this award)," said Chuck Anderson, principal of Bayview. "It speaks to what kids can do."
Anderson noted the $5,000 award would be used to expand the "3-2-1 You’re Done" system into other district buildings, purchase education/marketing materials, and provide scholarships for environmental education opportunities.
According to information provided by the district, the food waste reduction and organic recycling program at Bayview will be expanded to Southview Elementary and Clearwater Middle School during the 2012-13 school year.
Waconia High School will implement these procedures within the next three years (by the time most middle school students enter high school) and strategies to reduce waste (independent of organic recycling) have already been implemented across the district at all school building sites.
To learn more about the Jeffers Foundation, visit www.jeffersfoundation.org.