You are on page 1of 11

New Maryland

Elementary
School: Waste
Audit Summary
October 24th, 2013
The Gaia Project
270 Rookwood Ave
Fredericton, NB
E3B 2M2

1 (506) 442-9030
www.thegaiaproject.ca
contact@thegaiaproject.ca
New Maryland Elementary School: Waste Audit Summary
A summary of the results from the waste audit conducted on October 24th, 2013.

Copyright 2013 The Gaia Project. Last updated on November 13th, 2013.
Commercial reproducton of The Gaia Project materials is prohibited without prior writen permission.

The Gaia Project is a charitable organizaton dedicated to providing project-based learning opportunites in
the areas of energy, environment and sustainable engineering.
We develop projects, provide professional development, technical support and ongoing project support for
teachers and students. Our projects aim to incorporate three key principles, which symbolise our focus on
realistc environmentalism.
1. Data-Informed Decisions We want students to be able to explain why, and quantfy the efect of
each decision they made along the way to their fnal soluton.
2. Economic Assessments We expect students to be able to assess the cost efectveness of their so-
lutons, and be able to optmize their projects with limited budgets.
3. Environmental Impact and Lifecycle Assessments We need students to take a holistc view to their
projects. This means looking at their projects from cradle to grave, as opposed to just examining the
use phase, and acknowledging that greenhouse gas reducton is not the only environmental issue at
stake.
For more informaton, please visit www.thegaiaproject.ca
The Gaia Project
270 Rookwood Ave
Fredericton, NB
E3B 2M2
Canada

1 (506) 442-9030
contact@thegaiaproject.ca

The Gaia Project is supported by donatons and grants from:
NB Power
EcoActon Community Funding ProgramEnvironment Canada
Environmental Trust FundGovernment of New Brunswick
Fredericton Community Foundaton
The McCain Foundaton
The Harrison McCain Foundaton
PromoScience ProgramNatonal Science and Engineering Research Council

Front Cover Credits
Wheelie BinsCaledonia Lane photo by Geof Wilson under a Creatve Commons BY-ND 2.0 Licence

The Gaia Project www.thegaiaproject.ca

The Gaia Project www.thegaiaproject.ca
1
W
a
s
t
e

A
u
d
i
t

S
u
m
m
a
r
y

Overview
The Gaia Project collaborated with Grade 4
students at New Maryland Elementary School
to conduct a waste audit on October 24th,
2013. The process, results, and
recommendatons are detailed herein.
The Process
The Gaia Project and New Maryland Elementary
students started of the morning talking about
energy, consumpton and the waste hierarchy
reduce, reuse and recycleand why each of
these are important, and how they might relate
to the waste audit we were planning. We
discussed what kinds of things would typically
be found in classroom garbage cans, and used
this discussion to decide on sortng classes in
which to separate the waste.
Sorting classes
We decided on 6 sortng classes:
Returnable drink containers (included
milk containers)
Recyclable plastcs
Paper and cardboard
Compostable material
Garbage
Metals
Collecting the Garbage
The custodial staf collected all of the garbage
at the school on October 23rd, bagged it and
placed it in the blueroom for storage. Each bag
of waste was labelled according to its locaton
at the school.
It was decided to sort each of the following
locatons for garbage collecton individually:
Kindergarten
Red Wing
Yellow Wing
Blue Wing
Staf / Ofce Areas
To evaluate the efectveness of recycling at the
school, paper/cardboard recycling and
returnable drink containers were also collected
and weighed separately.
Students were divided into six groups, gloves
were provided to all students along with a
safety orientaton. Groups then opened the
bags and sorted its contents.
We subsequently weighed the contents of each
sortng category at the end of each sortng
session. The data from each group was entered
into an excel spreadsheet so that we could
build a picture of how much waste the school
produces in a day from each of the six sortng
classes. The results are detailed below.
Results
You can fnd the actual weight from each
sortng class (our raw data) in Table 1 in the
Appendix. The total percentage of waste by the
various categories can be seen in the charts
labelled Graphs 1 & 2. Graph 1 represents the
waste by type, excluding the recycling. Graph 2
shows waste by type, and includes the collected
recycling.
Charts summarizing the waste audit by wing
and locaton are included in full size in the
appendix.

2
T
h
e

G
a
i
a

P
r
o
j
e
c
t


The Gaia Project www.thegaiaproject.ca
Finally, the amount of waste collected and
sorted into each category has been projected
forward to provide an estmate of the waste
produced on an annual basis.
Using the assumpton of 195 school days a year,
the annual projected amount of total waste is
8,200 kg. The break down of waste can be
found in Table 2 in the Appendix. These are
rough estmate of the total waste the school
produces each year.


Summary
Through the process of measuring how much
and what type of waste at New Maryland
Elementary School it was discovered that
(Graph 1):
45% of the waste was compostable
material.
37% of the waste could have been
recycled. This includes:
Paper and cardboard (22%)
Recyclable plastcs (10%)
Metals (1%)
Returnable drink containers
(including milk containers)(4%).
Only 18% of the waste was actual
garbage that needed to be there.
When auditng the current recycling program
New Maryland, it was discovered that (Graph
2):
22% of the total waste was being
recycled. This includes:
Paper and cardboard (18%)
Recycled drink containers (4%)
It is estmated that each year New Maryland
diverts 1,700kg of waste, or 22% of he total
waste out of the regular garbage, though its
recycling programs for paper, cardboard and
drink containers. New Maryland should be
congratulated on a job well done.
If we found ways to divert all of the recyclable/
returnable/compostable materials, New School
could reduce their waste by an additonal 5,330
kg. This would reduce the total amount of
waste produced at the school to less than 1,500
kg, or by 82%.
Paper and Cardboard
Paper and cardboard recycling is already in

The Gaia Project www.thegaiaproject.ca
3
W
a
s
t
e

A
u
d
i
t

S
u
m
m
a
r
y

place at the school. 50% of the paper and
cardboard collected during the sample period
was diverted for recycling, with the remaining
50% fnding its way into the waste stream. The
percent of paper waste and recycled paper can
be seen in Graph 3.
The overwhelming majority of the paper found
in the waste stream was found to be coming
from the staf and ofce areas of the school.
These areas accounted for almost 30% of the
paper and cardboard that was not recycled. If
the staf room improved their recycling they
could remove an estmated 420 kg of paper
every school year or 5 % of the schools waste.
As highlighted in the graphs in the Appendix, it
was observed that the amount of paper in the
garbage bins ranged from 7% of the total waste
in the yellow wing, to 27% of the total waste in
the red wing.
Returnable Drink Containers
Currently, 52% of drink containers are being
collected and recycled / returned for a refund,
as seen in Graph 4. This category include milk
containers, for which no recycling program
currently exists, so the number may be lower
than expected. This category does remain a
signifcant opportunity for improvement as an
estmated 290 kg of waste could be diverted
from landfll annually.
Compostable Material
Forty-fve percent (45%) of the waste sorted
was compostable material, comprising the
largest category of waste produced at the
school (Graph 1). A large porton of this
compostable material was food waste
produced in the school, by students and staf.
The kindergarten classroom represented the
single largest source of compost within the
school, although the red wing also represented
a signifcant porton (detailed in the Appendix).
Compostable material from the cafeteria was
not made available at the tme of the waste
audit. This could increase the amount of
compostable material found in the waste
stream.
Recyclable Plastics
Ten percent (10%) of the waste examined was
recyclable plastc. No facilites for recycling
plastc material currently exist at the school.
The majority of this waste came from the Red
and Blue wings of the school - addressing just
these two areas would target over 55% of the
recyclable plastcs in the school.
Metals
Only 1% of the waste was metal, comprising of
broken forks and food cans with the majority

4
T
h
e

G
a
i
a

P
r
o
j
e
c
t


The Gaia Project www.thegaiaproject.ca
coming from the ofce.
Garbage
Only 18% of the waste we examined actually
needed to go into the garbage. The area of the
school with the largest percentage of waste the
blue wing, in which a signifcant number of food
wrappers could be found.
Action Plan
Students worked in groups to come up with a
number of ideas to implement at New Maryland
Elementary School. A summary of these are listed
below, along with the challenges and strategy for
proceeding.
Composting
Since compost represented 45% of the waste
collected, this would be an area of high impact on
the total amount of waste leaving the school
annually. The idea of implementng an animal-
proof compostng system at the school was
discussed. In teams or classes, students could
brainstorm on ways to build, maintain and
educate the school on the composter and their
classroom responsibilites, as well as possible
funding/materials as required. The Gaia Project
team is available to help fnd appropriate funding
and materials.
Paper Recycling: Staff / Office
Areas
Results indicated that stafrooms are not recycling
paper and cardboard with the same efectveness
as students areas.
Inital steps to increase the rate of paper recycling
in the stafrooms could involve surveying teachers
and staf to determine the barriers to recycling in
these areas and come up with solutons to
addressing them.
Students also suggested using points as part of
the classroom monitoring of recycling bins to
increase partcipaton and increase compliance.
Paper Recycling: Improving
Recycling Containers
Eforts to increase the rate of paper recycling
could divert an additonal 22% of the total waste
leaving the school. It was noted that paper
recycling containers are not the same in every
classrooms (these can be as simple as a cardboard
box). Several students suggested the idea of
decoratng the recycling containers like Pac-
Man in order feed recycling to draw more
atenton to them, with the goal of seeing
increased usage.
Waste Bins: Ratios and Locations
It was noted that multple garbage cans exist in
certain classrooms. Improving the rato of
recycling containers to garbage cans could help.
When paired with an awareness campaign led by
students know as Recycling Warriors. This
would integrated into the class chores. Increasing
recycling bin rato could help reduce the amount
of waste sent to landfll.
Accessibility of recycling containers and garbage
cans can play a large role in encouraging
behaviour change. Simply by placing recycling
containers in easier to access areas, and

The Gaia Project www.thegaiaproject.ca
5
W
a
s
t
e

A
u
d
i
t

S
u
m
m
a
r
y

marginally increasing the efort to use a
garbage can (placing a cover, or smaller hole on
top of the can), can have signifcant impacts in
divertng waste to the correct sortng container.
Assemblies / Announcements
Students proposed that it would be worthwhile
to share with the rest of the school the results
of the waste audit. An efectve way to do this
would be during the schools assemblies or
through weekly announcements and reminders.
One Bag Challenge
New Maryland Elementary completed a One-
Bag Challenge in the spring of 2013. Eforts to
contnue this traditon should be made. The one
-bag challenge allows the students and staf to
have a strong visual target to aim for,
reinforcing the recycling behaviours. This could
be accomplished by:
Establishing a single day (or week) that is
designated as the challenge day or week.
In the days or weeks preceding the event,
students can provide informaton
sessions / material to their classmates
and their parents about the challenge.
Allow students and staf to present ideas
on how to achieve the one-bag challenge
goal.
Use recyclable containers to hold
your food
Only taking food to school you will
eat
The One Bag Challenge could be in conjuncton
with a school pick-nick or other school events.


Summary
The Gaia Project suggests that the school focus
initally on improving the performance of staf /
ofce areas in the existng paper recycling to
have the biggest impact in a short tme period.
Over the long term focus on the development
of compostng program at the school.
The Gaia Project is excited to collaborate and
assist New Maryland Elementary School in
achieving these goals.
Contact Us
If you would like more informaton, we would
be happy to discuss anything in this report. We
will be following up with you in the coming
weeks about moving some of these ideas
forward and it has been a pleasure working
with you.



Andrew Holloway
Technical Director

The Gaia Project
270 Rookwood Ave
Fredericton, NB
E3B 2M2

1 (506) 442-9030
andrew.holloway@thegaiaproject.ca




6
T
h
e

G
a
i
a

P
r
o
j
e
c
t


The Gaia Project www.thegaiaproject.ca
Appendix
T
a
b
l
e

2
:

S
u
m
m
a
r
y

o
f

t
o
t
a
l
s

f
o
r

o
n
e

d
a
y

p
e
r
i
o
d
,

a
n
d

p
r
o
j
e
c
t
o
n
s

f
o
r

f
u
l
l

y
e
a
r

b
a
s
e
d

o
n

1
9
5

s
c
h
o
o
l

d
a
y
s

p
e
r

y
e
a
r

(
e
s
t
m
a
t
e
d


a
n
n
u
a
l

r
e
s
u
l
t
s
)

T
a
b
l
e

1
:

R
a
w

d
a
t
a

c
o
l
l
e
c
t
e
d

b
y

s
t
u
d
e
n
t
s

s
h
o
w
i
n
g

w
a
s
t
e

c
a
t
e
g
o
r
i
e
s
,

l
o
c
a
t
o
n
s

a
n
d

w
e
i
g
h
t
s

G
r
o
u
p

R
e
t
u
r
n
a
b
l
e

D
r
i
n
k

C
o
n
-
t
a
i
n
e
r
s

(
k
g
)

M
e
t
a
l
s

(
k
g
)

R
e
c
y
c
l
a
b
l
e

P
l
a
s
t
c
s

P
a
p
e
r

&

C
a
r
d
-
b
o
a
r
d

(
k
g
)

C
o
m
p
o
s
t
a
b
l
e

(
k
g
)

G
a
r
-
b
a
g
e

(
k
g
)

T
o
t
a
l

(
k
g
)

K
i
n
d
e
r
g
a
r
t
e
n

0
.
0

0
.
0

1
.
4

2
.
6

9
.
2

2
.
7

1
5
.
9

R
e
d

1
.
2

0
.
2

1
.
9

3
.
4

7
.
1

1
.
4

1
5
.
2

Y
e
l
l
o
w


0
.
5

0
.
1

0
.
2

0
.
5

3
.
7

1
.
3

6
.
3

B
l
u
e

1
.
1

0
.
1

1
.
7

3
.
6

7
.
8

3
.
5

1
7
.
8

S
t
a
f

/

O
f
c
e

0
.
2

0
.
3

1
.
1

4
.
5

2
.
2

2
.
9

1
1
.
2

T
o
t
a
l

(
E
x
c
l
u
d
i
n
g

R
e
c
y
-
c
l
i
n
g
)

2
.
9

0
.
7

6
.
3

1
4
.
6

2
9
.
9

1
1
.
9

6
6
.
3

R
e
c
y
c
l
i
n
g

3
.
2





1
4
.
8




1
8
.
0

T
o
t
a
l

(
I
n
c
l
u
d
i
n
g

R
e
c
y
-
c
l
i
n
g
)

6
.
1

0
.
7

6
.
3

2
9
.
4

2
9
.
9

1
1
.
9

8
4
.
3

S
o
r
t
n
g

C
l
a
s
s

D
a
i
l
y

(
k
g
)

A
n
n
u
a
l

(
k
g
)

R
e
t
u
r
n
a
b
l
e

D
r
i
n
k

C
o
n
t
a
i
n
e
r
s

2
.
9

2
9
0

M
e
t
a
l
s

0
.
7

7
0

R
e
c
y
c
l
a
b
l
e

P
l
a
s
t
c
s

6
.
3

6
0
0

P
a
p
e
r

&

C
a
r
d
b
o
a
r
d

1
4
.
6

1
4
0
0

C
o
m
p
o
s
t
a
b
l
e

2
9
.
9

2
9
0
0

G
a
r
b
a
g
e

1
1
.
9

1
2
0
0

R
e
c
y
c
l
e
d

D
r
i
n
k

C
o
n
t
a
i
n
e
r
s

3
.
2

3
0
0

R
e
c
y
c
l
e
d

P
a
p
e
r

1
4
.
8

1
4
0
0

T
o
t
a
l

8
4
.
3

8
2
0
0


The Gaia Project www.thegaiaproject.ca
7
W
a
s
t
e

A
u
d
i
t

S
u
m
m
a
r
y


8
T
h
e

G
a
i
a

P
r
o
j
e
c
t


The Gaia Project www.thegaiaproject.ca

The Gaia Project www.thegaiaproject.ca
9
W
a
s
t
e

A
u
d
i
t

S
u
m
m
a
r
y