Buildings and Grounds
Go Green News & Updates
Get involved! Join district Go Green CommitteePosted by EPS Communications on 1/12/2017 2:00:00 PM
The district’s Go Green Committee is looking for more members – parents, students and teachers – to join them in making a difference in the schools and the environment. In the next year, the committee is looking to broaden its focus while sustaining the work already accomplished in recycling efforts around the district.
There is a volunteer Go Green Coordinator position available at each school, most of which are not currently filled. As part of each school’s PTO, the coordinator would help sustain the district’s accomplishments in the area of recycling, and be a member of the Go Green Committee helping to brainstorm and implement next areas of environmental focus.
Last year, the district was awarded a grant by Hennepin County to help the Go Green Committee develop the recycling program that is now in place at district schools. This fall, Megan Kooman, buildings and grounds specialist, and parent volunteer Winnie Martin, presented information about Edina Public Schools’ recycling program at a conference of the Recycling Association of Minnesota and the Solid Waste Association of North America. The information they shared made a big impression on the other school districts represented in the audience.
“They wanted our slide show, information about our recycling stations, they wanted to know how we got to this point and how we get the kids to participate,” Kooman said. “We are ahead of a lot of districts when it comes to recycling.”
While recycling efforts will continue, the committee is ready to tackle other environmental issues and hope to influence students to practice efficient energy use wherever they are. “The City of Edina has a goal to reduce its green house effect by 30 percent by the year 2025,” said Curt Johanson, buildings and grounds supervisor. “They’d like our help in getting kids involved at home.”
The district is making great strides in its own energy conservation efforts. Following mechanical improvements to buildings, three of the district’s elementary schools have been designated Energy Star ratings, with another one not far behind. Johanson said the Go Green Committee is a way to involve the greater school community. “Now that we are on the forefront of recycling,” he said, “We are looking at what other issues do we want to address? We’d like to have more involvement in the work we want to do.”
Learn more about the Go Green Advisory Committee on the district website. If you are interested in being a school site Go Green Coordinator or an ad hoc member of the Go Green Committee, contact Megan Kooman or the PTO chair at your school.
Grant funds used to purchase recycling signage for district schoolsPosted by EPS Communications on 2/26/2016
New signage in every school cafeteria aims to make the recycling process easier for students and more efficient. Purchased with funding from a $22,000 grant from Hennepin County, the new signs provide words and pictures describing what items can be thrown in each bin. It’s all about proper sorting.
At each district elementary school, an average of more than 90 pounds of waste is generated in the cafeteria each day. At a middle school, where there are more students, it is more than twice that amount. Unfortunately, the accuracy of the disposal of that waste varies widely and, at every school, could use some improvement.
Earlier this month, members of the district’s Go Green committee camped out in a school cafeteria to observe the disposal process. Their estimate was that the efficiency of organic sorting was just 11 percent; trash sorting was 14 percent; and recycling was 44 percent. Some schools have better rates, but they may have school staff or volunteers posted at the recycling center to help students sort waste into the appropriate bin. The idea behind the new signage is to educate everyone to know how to recycle on their own.
In November, the district standardized all of the waste bins so that the colors match the standards used by most places. Now signs over the bins give students even more information that will help them dispose of waste appropriately and quickly. Not only are there pictures of items that belong in each bin, there is also a rack for hooks to display actual items from that day’s menu to show students how they should dispose of these items.
Proper disposal is critical to a successful recycling program, according to Curt Johanson, buildings and grounds and custodial supervisor for the district. One wrong item in a bin contaminates the bag. “Most kids know that a half eaten sandwich is compostable,” he said. “But if they throw it away inside of a ziplock bag, the bin is contaminated.” Johanson said that if custodians notice items in the wrong bins when they are removing the bags, they re-sort a few items, but they do not have time to go through entire bags. If a bin appears to be too contaminated it will be tossed in the trash instead of composted or recycled. “We are trying to improve our process to help the earth,” Johanson said. “If we can help the kids learn this now they will carry it forward.”
District Go Green committee promotes recycling the right way; America Recycles Day is Nov. 15Posted by EPS Communications on 11/10/2015
Most people try to recycle. The trick is doing it right. Knowing the meaning of the colored bins and what to throw in them makes for a successful recycling program. Edina Public Schools (EPS) wants to get everyone in the recycling habit and is about to make it easier to recycle correctly throughout the school day, anywhere in the district.
America Recycles Day is Nov. 15 and according to their website, the national recycling rate has increased every year for the past 30 years. The current recycling rate is 34.5 percent. The district’s Go Green committee hopes to improve on that statistic. According to Hennepin County, nearly 80 percent of school waste is recyclable or compostable.
The Go Green committee is a group of 30 students, staff, parents, community members and the district’s buildings and grounds personnel. Last year, the committee applied for and received a $22,000 grant from Hennepin County to support recycling efforts throughout the district. Cornelia Elementary students contributed a student-created skit about recycling that was videotaped and became an important part of the grant application. As the grant money becomes available, the committee is giving first priority to standardizing the look and availability of recycling at each building.
“Right now, the bins at some of the schools are not aligned with the standard colors used for recycling. And at some of the elementary schools, the set up is too tall for the younger kids,” said Curt Johanson, custodial supervisor for the buildings and grounds department. “Most people don’t realize that if you throw the wrong item in the wrong bin, that bin can no longer be recycled.
The group hopes to have new bins and standard recycling centers in every cafeteria over the next few months. Through the district’s partnerships with Hennepin County and the district’s hauler, Waste Management, additional educational material will be provided to staff, students and families with hopes that everyone will do their part.
Learn more about recycling by viewing this video, courtesy of Waste Management: Recycle Often, Recycle Right
Cornelia student leadership promotes recycling; student skit will be part of grant applicationPosted by EPS Communications on 1/29/2015
Cornelia Elementary School’s Student Leadership Team (SLT) has taken the school’s recycling program under its wing as part of its service learning project for the year. The project aims to build awareness among students and staff around the proper ways to dispose of various trash items.
With help from the Edina Public Schools (EPS) Go Green Committee, the SLT was able to secure a designated recycling bin for each room at Cornelia, something which was previously not available. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, two students from SLT visit each room to collect the recycled material.
“The kids knew they wanted to do something about ‘going green’ or recycling, so we came up with this project,” said Molly O’Keefe, 5th grade teacher and SLT adviser at Cornelia, and a member of the Go Green Committee.
In a skit performed at the Cornelia CARES Assembly on Jan. 27, SLT members acted out a scene in which students had to decide where their trash belonged. They were given three choices — organics, trash or recycling. On “Day 1,” one student threw his paper towel into the organics bin, while two others threw plastic bags into the trash. The fourth student threw her water bottle with the cap still attached into the recycling. This was pointed out as a mistake, which was resolved on “Day 2” when the fourth student threw the water bottle with the cap removed into the recycling. According to O’Keefe, the skit served as a reminder to students and staff about good waste disposal habits.
The project has also caught the attention of the district’s buildings and grounds department, which will use it as part of a grant proposal for the Hennepin County School Recycling Grant. Buildings and Grounds Specialist Melissa Williams said that if awarded, the grant would provide funds for sorting signs at the recycling stations in the cafeterias at Cornelia, Concord, Highlands, Creek Valley and Countryside Elementary Schools. Much like the SLT skit, the signs would label three bins — organics, trash and recycling.
“We want to start with the elementary schools first before we move on to the middle schools and high school,” Williams said.
The SLT at Cornelia is a group of eight 4th graders and eight 5th graders. In addition to a service learning project, their work includes recording the school announcements, reading to other students in KIDS Club and volunteering when needed at school events.