Our School

With the help of a $10,000 grant from BP Oil through their A+ For Energy program, Ecole Dickinsfield School of Fort McMurray, Alberta embraced Waste Free Lunches.
We did it! We're a Waste Free Lunch School!
Photo by Greg Halinda Photography

In 2011, our school became an Apple School and a Leader In Me School the same year as Waste Free Lunches, and the three meshed perfectly. The kids, parents and staff embraced being proactive, eating healthily and having less waste.

As a result, our waste was reduced by half within the first two weeks of school. It was down by 67% within a month. And 8 months later, daily trash was often down by 80%. It was a remarkable success. We have changed habits and created a new school norm.

Video by Alex Rushdy

Here's what we did:

· Grade 3 did a waste audit. Since we recycle paper, cardboard and juice boxes, they determined most of the remaining waste was from lunches.
It all adds up!
Greg Halinda Photography
· Grade 3 students collected a month's worth of (dry) lunch waste. That was shared with the Parent Association, along with video clips of the problems of plastic waste. The Parent Association chose items that had less packaging for the hot lunch program.
· Grade 3 & 4 students researched, tested, and ordered many different kinds of reusable containers and bottles for the "Eco Store".  
· At the beginning of the new school year, staff members were given a coupon toward reusable items from the Eco Store. They were encouraged to embrace waste free lunches and educate our students.
· All students were given $10 worth of waste free lunch items.
· Early Entry and Kindergarten were given reusable snack bags.
· Grades 1-3 parents chose items from the Eco Store during parent teacher interviews.
· Grades 4-6 students themselves chose items from the Eco Store set up in a classroom. Grade 3 students ran the Eco Store, explaining the cool products.
· Extra Waste Free Lunch items were available for parents & staff to purchase at different events through the year.
· The Earth Club with students from Grade 1-6 met weekly at lunch recess. They learned about waste, composting, recycling, plants, pollution and different forms of energy.
·  Grade 3 & 4 students gathered information on the life cycle of a plastic baggie (materials, energy, pollution)

 An interview with our school custodian was shared on You-tube

· The Earth Club conducted a composting experiment to see what can be composted   
· School staff members were given a 30 minute session on Bottled Water, and how many universities are no longer selling it.
· Waste Free Lunch materials and information were shared with the larger community at 2 different events.
· Lessons were developed to help teachers and students learn about the energy and resources used in the life cycle of plastic baggies and packaging, and the issues around waste.
Waste free lunches
Students at our Eco Store
with waste free containers

     · "Earth Week" was held school wide, with daily information and activities on garbage, composting, energy, & waste free lunches.
     · Reusable plates, glasses, bowls and utensils were purchased for classroom feasts.
     · Reusable plates and cutlery are now used for staff feasts.
     · Our school purchased a water dispenser using tap water for school events, instead of using bottled water.
     · Bulletin boards with information on Lunch Garbage, Ecological Footprint, What to Choose Instead and the Life Cycle of the Plastic Fork were put up in the front of the school.
     · Information was shared with families in monthly school newsletters. The topics included:
Waste Free Lunches Rock!
  1. What is a Waste free lunch
  2. The Problems with Bottled Water
  3. The Problems with Plastic
  4. Composting
  5. Bento Boxes
  6. Plastic versus metal
  7. Thrown Out Food
  8. What our students think
  9. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot
  10. Why Bother?
  11. Custodians Talk
· Photos were taken and this website was designed to share information with the school, district and larger global community.
· Grade 4 students created a prezi with everything they learned to share with classes during presentations during Earth Week.
See it here!

· A beautiful video with children talking about our Waste Free Lunches was filmed by one of our previous students
· The lead teacher gave input into the development of a local Recycling center education program.
· RRRibbit, our local Reduce, Reuse, Recycle mascot frog, came for an afternoon to each classroom to see their waste free lunches
· Information was shared with district staff on our waste free lunch experience.