Maine middle school students work to reduce waste

Small efforts have reduced trash by 94%.

March 11—Inside Westbrook (Maine) Middle School cafeteria, seventh-graders are hanging around the trash.

The students aren’t looking for test answers or love notes. They’re working to reduce the amount of trash from the cafeteria as part of the Chewonki Foundation’s Zero Waste challenge, aimed to eliminate much of the waste that could be recycled, composted and reused instead of tossed.

Westbrook Middle School has been named as one of the top three schools out of the 14 in the state participating in the contest. According to a 6-minute video for the competition, written and produced by students about their project, the group has been able to reduce the amount of trash coming out of the cafeteria by 94 percent and increased recycling by 50 percent by making a few simple changes.

“We got the cafeteria to stop using plastic straws and foam plates,” said 13-year-old Shania McCrillis.