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Toronto Catholic District School Board

We're just about ready to add this to the Zero Waste Website that first started in 2002.

 

https://www.tcdsb.org/Board/environment/PastInitiatives/ZeroWaste/Pages/default.aspx

 

Gr. 5/6 class, take a look and please send any feedback you have to me by Monday, April 4th. I will be sending this to the school board on April 4th to upload the the zero waste web page.

 

Good job to all those involved in writing and drawing pictures. If you have any other ideas for pictures, go ahead and draw.

 

Thanks

 

Mr. Fernandes

 

 

2016
What goes around comes around  - well that’s the goal for zero waste.
This project first started back in 2002 at St. Sylvester. In the 14 years since then, it’s traveled to Prince of Peace, St. Stephen, St. John the Evangelist, St. Henry and now it’s back to St. Sylvester. 14 years is a long  time. It’s older than almost every student at our school. It’s also allowed a lot of positive change take place. Back in 2002, there was no green bin, and now all homes in Toronto have a green bin to divert their organic waste. In 2002, we still had gas receipts at every gas station, whereas now, you have the option of choosing whether you want a receipt; reusable cloth bags were rarely seen at grocery stores while now, you can see them many places. All positive changes that we’re thrilled to see. Of course, just like life, you need to focus on the positive and never stop looking for improvements. There is still lots of room for improvements. Take a look at the areas we’re still pushing for change on the following pages.
You’ll be able to read about
·       Bill 151   
·       Biodegradable packaging
·       The Landfill vs Incineration debate
·       Simple steps we can all still take
·       What we’ve done
·       What we’ve learned
Back in 2002, we referred to the Race to Zero Waste. At some point, it became a marathon and now true to our school learning plan, we know that this journey will never truly end. Life long learning means exactly that, so join us on this journey and help us find a way – The Earth is ours to care for each and every day.

 

 zwasterintropage.jpg

Bill 151
This is never going to work without the Government’s help!
But guess what? The government is ready to help. Have you heard about Bill 151? We definitely have.
Here are Bill 151’s three main points:
-EPR: (Expanded Producer Responsibility) EPR is when the business takes responsibility of their products. This is important because if companies make the packaging, they should pay for it. For example, if a company, take for example Ruffles, creates a Zero Waste package they won’t have to pay as much as they would if it created lots of waste in one product. That’s one way to stop creating waste. The Mayor of Montreal has started a ban for plastic bags, and now he’s starting a ban for no more plastic water bottles. Wow! He’s really taking the lead in the race to Zero Waste. And just as importantly it will FORCE EPR to happen. Sometimes, enforcement is the way to go!
-Organics action plan— The Green Bin is similar to the Blue Bin and Garbage Bin but in a way, better. It creates a better and safer way to dispose food waste. Of course you should always finish your food but in some scenarios you can’t. But hey, I’m not here to judge. Instead of   throwing away food scraps in a landfill where it can decompose and release harmful toxins, it gets sent somewhere else. The food that comes from the ground goes through a special process where it is transformed into, wait for it… SOIL!  It goes back into Mother Earth where it came from! The problem is, most apartments and condos don’t have the green bin. That means the population that lives in apartments and condos send all their food scraps into the landfills. But the government is slowly trying to push the Green Bin system into the apartments. We HOPE it’s a quicker process….go Bill 151 go!
-Closed loop— And finally we end off with a closed loop. Basically what goes around comes back around... or what goes around SHOULD come back around. The closed loop is anything that creates no waste and goes in a circle. For example, biodegradable bags are made from resources from the earth and they end up back into the earth. Pretty simple!
This is the new Bill151. Let’s hope it gets passed and that people can actually follow it.
 
Reggie C  Gr. 6      Picture from Adejah
 
zwaste bill 151 pic.jpg
 
 
 
 
 
If we HAVE to package our food…
Packaging...it’s everywhere! And no matter what we try, it’s still ending up in the garbage (boo!) or recycling (better than boo but still not the ideal). The solution?  Don’t worry. We got ya covered.
Biodegradable packaging!
Biodegradable packaging is packaging that can break down quickly back into the Earth. This creates a closed loop because it came from the Earth, and then it ends its life back in the Earth when it breaks down. There are three key components for a product to be biodegradable.
1.    It must be made from renewable resources
2.    OR made from materials taken straight from the earth
3.    It must be able to completely decompose in a compost system with the assistance of microorganisms.   (http://greenliving.lovetoknow.com/Biodegradable_Packaging )
There is a lot of confusion around biodegradable packaging. Many companies claim their products can biodegrade but there are strict guidelines that say if a product can not break back down into earth in under a year, then the product is not really biodegradable. In addition, it’s not clear whether biodegradable packaging can properly biodegrade in a landfill. According to numerous sources (http://www.genpak.com/green-room/biodegradable/) biodegradable packaging can only break down in a proper composting system. Uh, oh…this means it’s back to the problem of getting the green bin everywhere.
Small steps through – we’ve learned that for the dog owners of our school that there is no reason to put your doggie poo bag in a city garbage on your walk. Instead, you should take them home and put them in a green bin container because that’s the only way it will really biodegrade
I think one big way we could reduce waste is to have more biodegradable packaging.
Now we just need a company willing to take on the challenge. Anyone up for it?
 
Picture of a chip bag biodegrading?   OR maybe a picture of a bunch of packaging in a landfill and the other side shows trees and plants growing and underneath, you see rich soil with chip bags and other packaging that has biodegraded.
 
  
 
Landfills vs Incinerators
 
Do you know where all of Toronto’s garbage goes? Landfills. Do you know what a landfill is? It’s a hole where we put all of our garbage. Sounds bad doesn’t it?  It’s lazy and horrible for the environment! Some ways landfills are horrible for the environments are that they cause leachate and methane. You are probably thinking this is NOT the way to go, and it isn’t.
 
So maybe, incineration is the way to go?
 
Wrong. Incineration is no better than landfills! If you don’t know what incineration is, they take all your garbage and the incinerator burns it into ash. You may be thinking how is incineration horrible? Burning garbage means no space is taken up for our garbage. Maybe, but incineration causes too much ash from the garbage; it gives off so many different types of chemical that are released into the atmosphere, THE ATMOSPHERE! Do you really want to BREATHE your garbage?
 
If none of these are the way to go, then where should we throw our garbage? Simple. The answer is to reduce our garbage so we don’t even have to use either of these waste disposal methods.  Zero Waste is the Key and the first R is Reduce.
Narek K   Picture by Erica and Narek     


 
Simple steps Toward zero waste
There are a lot of things we can do to work toward ZERO WASTE and here they are:
· Get the Government, businesses, environmentalists, and the public involved in the process!
· Use reusable water bottles and reusable bags!
· Take the time to divert waste into its proper spot!
· Pack a litterless lunch!
· Along with Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling, also RETHINK and REFUSE!
· Change your MINDSET toward ZERO WASTE (for example: don’t buy items that support or promote a lot of packaging)!
 
We can do this together.
 
 zwastesimplesteps.jpg
 
 
  
What we’ve done
 
Post Christmas, back in the classroom, January 2016! Time for a resolution, a new slant on life - but what?!? Start exercising, give up junk food, walk to school,....?? Nah….
 
Let’s go through our garbage!  Alright….
 
And so the process began (or at least, continued)...
 
We started with a simple process; looking at and understanding waste. The 3 Rs have been around for a long while now but if we really want to make a change, we have to go WAY beyond the concept of the 3 Rs! So first, in class, we emptied out and examined the garbage. We then emptied out and examined the blue bin. Aside from the usual paper and the bits of chewing gum that were stuck to the bottom of the garbage bin (disgusting!) we noticed that so much of what we were looking at in both systems (garbage and recycling) was PACKAGING. Candy wrappers, juice boxes, water bottles, lunchables, chip bags, cookie wrappers, and more! Hmmmmm..... It started us thinking. Packaging seems to be the dominant source of our waste diversion system; let's explore PACKAGING a little bit more.
 
And so the movement toward 'Zero Waste' REALLY began!  To date, March 2016, here is what we have done so far:
 
·       we set up stations around our class (Stations 1 through 7) displaying the different numbered systems for recycled products that are plastic; we further discovered that potential recycled products can actually be numbered from #1 through to #98!
 
·       we made a phone call (or two or three) to a specific company inquiring about their landfill-bound chip bag! This was one of the very first things we did, beyond the initial dumping out of our garbage and recycling bins in class (and remember, always be polite to others on the other end of the phone)!
 
·       we learned about the proposed new Provincial government bill, BILL 151; this is a very long, detailed, and complicated bill, but for Grade 5 and 6 students, we are getting a pretty good handle on it!
 
·       given the knowledge we have gained so far about Bill 151, we had two representatives from the Ministry of the Environment come in and speak to our class about this Bill; the speakers were informative but they did mention the words HOPE, TRY, and MAYBE a whole lot!
 
·       we have written and sent letters, letters, and more letters; we are writing to the many and varied businesses inquiring about and/or questioning their stand, their theory, their policy and/or practice with regard to packaging; some of the businesses we are or have contacted are: Black Diamond and Kraft re their cheese slices, cheese strings, and lunchables; Yoplait re their yoghurt tubes; Kool Aid re their jammers; Hershey's re their wrappers; Loblaws and Metro re their plastic bags; Worlds Finest Chocolates (our fundraise providers) re their individually wrapped chocolates, and more! Narek has also done a whole lot of research on the incineration process so naturally he has successfully made contact with the new and up and running incinerator in  Courtice, Ontario called the 'Energy from Waste Centre'!
 
·       we are now in full swing practice with putting together an informative and entertaining play called WHAT A LOT OF GARBAGE to be presented to a wide audience on April 22nd, Earth Day!
 
·       we had two representatives into our class from Hilroy, outlining to us their policy and practices around packaging and Zero Waste; this presentation was very informative and gave us the impression that Hilroy is (environmentally) definitely moving in the right direction, toward Zero Waste, as best as they can!
 
·       along with the play, we are also busy preparing for our April 22nd, Earth Day extravaganza, whereby students at different stations will present key topics such as Bill 151, Biodegradables, Landfill vs Incineration, and more; after all, if we are going to make a change and move toward Zero Waste, we HAVE to educate others with all the ideas and information surrounding it!
 
·       we have an ongoing experiment/test going on in class whereby we have taken an 'unwrapped chocolate' AND an 'individually wrapped chocolate' and over time we are going to do a TASTE TEST to actually see whether or not there is a taste and/or spoil difference between the two; after the first month we actually had one of the representatives from Hilroy (who loves chocolate) perform the first (of many) taste tests and she did exclaim: "There is no taste difference! Both taste great!" After another month (or two, or three), we will see. We do hope this simple test may be a progressive movement toward getting rid of unnecessary individual, packaging around different products!
 
 
And then lastly, probably the BIGGEST and the MOST IMPORTANT thing we have done so far is that INDIVIDUALLY, we have all begun to have a different MINDSET! We have all begun to THINK DIFFERENTLY! As a class we have come up with a 4th and a 5th 'R'; very powerfully these words are: RETHINK and REFUSE!  Honestly everyone, if we want move toward what Justin Trudeau is proposing, to make an 'environmental change', then we HAVE TO change our MINDSET and think and act very differently from where we stand right now!
 
We’re not done yet so let’s keep moving toward ZERO WASTE and make an environmental change to our world!
As for this immediate story, stay tuned, for it will definitely continue...
 
Mrs. Stoner
 
 Picture Idea?
 
  
What we’ve learned –  Sasoon