By Genevieve Cloutier '03, Alumnae Relations Coordinator
About a year ago, I visited Green Action Centre with a group of Youth in Philanthropy students as one of our site visits to explore nonprofit organizations in Winnipeg to which they could direct a grant funded by The Winnipeg Foundation. It was at this meeting that we learned of Compost Winnipeg, which provides residential and commercial composting, and we immediately wanted to implement a program at Balmoral Hall School. And so, the planning began.
Fast forward a year, and here we are almost a month into our schoolwide composting initiative. Along the way, Ms Caitlin Briggs, Senior School biology teacher and Green Club faculty advisor, joined us to lend her expertise to the project. With the help of fellow colleagues and incredibly passionate students, along with commercial compost expert and Junior School parent Dave Pancoe, a sustainable, full-scale composting program has been embraced by our school community.
It has been my great pleasure to see adults and children alike making conscious choices to separate their waste into compost, recycling, and garbage. To see faculty bringing their own compost buckets into their classrooms and making the trip to one of our waste stations at the end of each day to do their part. To see students in the dining hall helping each other decide where their lunch waste should be disposed of and encouraging each other to take what they will eat and not waste food. I am very happy to see how much things have changed in just a few weeks!
When we completed our schoolwide waste audit in January, we noticed that recycling was contaminated with food and nonrecyclables. We also noticed that the majority of garbage was plastic bags, compostables, and paper towel. Thanks to our amazing custodial team, a concerted effort is being made to reduce the number of plastic bags used and to maintain "paper towel only" bins in all washrooms.
We would like to thank all staff and students from the bottom of our hearts for supporting this change with enthusiasm. We could not do all this alone, and we are overwhelmed by the incredibly positive feedback we have received so far. Because we all work together, our community is doing our part for reducing, reusing, and recycling – and now composting! Every bit makes a difference! Thank you.