On Friday, the final day of our Earth Week celebration at Gateway School, we held small group interviews with students during the lunch hour. We started the interview with the question "What can you do to reduce waste in your life?" The facilitator wrote down the students' responses on large pieces of salvaged paper. (We used the reverse side of discarded posters.) When all groups had finished, the posters were hung up as part of our lobby display.
We also made lunch worksheets available for students who wanted to analyze their lunches.
We were extremely pleased with the number of waste-saving ideas that the participants were able to come up with. Many students were able to enumerate the behavior changes they had made in their lives, and others could explain the changes they were planning to make. Everyone was pleased to hear that as a group we had been able to significantly reduce our lunchtime waste. Many vowed to continue using reusable containers.
Next year we would like to expand the interview to include additional lunch-related activities. It would be a wonderful experience for students to be grouped with their "buddy" classes, so that an older and a younger student could interview each other. They could even write and illustrate their own book on what it means to take care of the planet. Possible topics include:
The books could be made available as part of the lobby display. The buddy pairs could also get together again at the beginning of the year in September to revisit the topic of waste-free lunches and to set the stage for the school year.