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School Turns Trash into Lesson Plan

Published Thursday Jun 6, 2019

School Turns Trash into Lesson Plan

Somersworth Middle School recently conducted a school waste audit, known as Trash On the Lawn Day, where 120 seventh-grade students learned how to identify and pull recyclables from a sampling of typical school trash.

Outfitted with recyclable gloves, each group of students was given several bags of trash which were weighed, sorted into bins, then weighed again.  When sorting was completed the students had a visual and quantifiable record of how much of their “trash” could have been diverted from the landfill. 

While there was not a lot of waste (an indicator of good recycling and the result of a successful food waste program through Mr. Fox Composting), the students still saw opportunities to improve their efforts. The students asked lots of questions and learned that diverting recyclables and reducing food waste saves energy, natural resources and landfill space. 

Math and science teacher Chris Asbell, who set up the schedule, organized the class rotations and supervised the students throughout the day, says he plans to tie the results of this program into their graph and charting curricula.

Wendy Berkeley, the farm to school coordinator, secured funding for the program and provided expertise throughout the day. Trash training was provided by Gwen Erley, Sarah McGraw and Julia Le May from NRRA’s School Recycling CLUB. Facilities Director Karl Ingoldsby and Custodian Michael Nichols provided logistics.

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