Leelanau County High School Takes A Stand For The Environment - Northern Michigan's News Leader

Leelanau County High School Takes A Stand For The Environment

Posted: Updated:

Every year Americans generate 21.5 million tons of food waste.

If we composted that food it would take away the same amount of greenhouse gas as taking 2 million cars off the road.

Now students at a Leelanau County school are taking action by making a change starting in their lunch room.

Students For World Awareness started a new program at Glen Lake High School in January.

They're keeping things green by turning recycling into part of their daily routine.

Reduce, reuse, recycle.

It’s a phrase we hear often and one that President of Student for World Awareness, Annie Lively, is putting into action having classmates recycle their lunch leftovers; “Members of Students For World Awareness get out a little bit earlier and then they get out and set up the recycling bins and they eat their lunch usually pretty fast and as all of students in high school come up with their waste we just kind of direct them.”

Students have divided the trash into two categories; Recycling for papers and plastics and compost for left over foods and wrappers.

However, starting this week, Lively says, a third bins being thrown in the mix, “We're gonna just add another bin and we already have signs made with the composting and we're gonna just every day after lunch take the compost outside and dump it into the big compost bin.”

The compost is being picked up by Food For Thought.

The Traverse City nonprofit is taking some of the compost to their own landfill, but the rest of it, “Actually some of the compost bag we're going to be using, or that we're going to be making, will be coming back to our green house at the school so AP Environmental Science and Biology will be able to use it in their classes for growing plants,” says Lively.

And as this generation works to clean up their community, the next is learning from their actions.

Member of Students For World Awareness, Annabel Skrocki, tells us, “Since we do live in the most beautiful place in America, it's like a pretty big impact that we have on what we're doing here at the school. What we're doing here is important because it'll influence the younger generation that's coming up such as like the middle school and elementary. It'll get them to realize the impact like all of the food waste and recycling has on you know the environment around us.”

The students hope the new trash program can spark a new movement in their community, reminding everyone to think a little harder about where they drop that wrapper.

“For me especially, it feels really important in this era,” remarks Lively.

“We have so many things that people just throw away and they don't even know where it goes. You see a lot of people have plastic water bottles and everything is just disposable and nobody pays any attention to where it goes, and so I think it's important to start creating a little more awareness of, ‘Okay what I'm using has to end up somewhere.’”

The members of Students For World Awareness say they hope the new recycling plan will be a permanent transition for Glen Lake High School, one that will eventually involve the entire K-12 lunches and classrooms.