Spotlight: Carver Elementary School

Bottle cap art. Look closely and you can see the Arch!

Saint Louis Public School Carver Elementary has made extraordinary efforts to “Reduce their Waste Line”.  Check out their wonderful programs that have made positive results for their school and the planet!

Dory and Newsie talking about recycling to students!

In April 2017, Saint Louis City Recycles presented a puppet show to 1st grade students and gave out 30 classroom recycling bins and two rollcarts to begin recycling collection through City Schools Outreach Program.  Over the next couple of months, students taught each other what could and could not go in the recycling bin.  This inspired art teacher, Mrs. Brittany Tate, to partner with EarthWays Center at Missouri Botanical Garden to take Carver’s waste reduction to the next level.


Kindergarteners sure do know how to recycle!

In September 2017, Carver conducted a waste audit with the help of Earthways Center.  They collected 24 hours of trash and found that every day as a school of 240 students and faculty they were throwing away about 75 pounds of trash.  This is equal to about 5 ounces of trash per student!  The trash breakdown included 15 pounds of paper, 3.8 pounds of plastic, 14.2 pounds of styrofoam and plastic film, 2.6 pounds of metal and glass and 38.8 pounds of food and wet waste (food waste, liquids and wet paper towels)!  What students immediately noticed was that over 50 percent of their waste could be composted.

Bulletin board in the cafeteria always reminding students to compost!  Bulletin boards have been painted on instead of covering with paper–one more way to reduce their paper consumption!

This led to project “Reduce Our Waste Line”.  The first place they started to reduce waste was by adding composting services.  To help cover the cost of commercial composting services, students can pay $2 on Fridays to “dress down”.  Students made posters about what they can compost and what they need to throw away.  Currently, they are researching compostable plates so they can switch from styrofoam trays in the cafeteria.  They have also signed up for the Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge and have recycled more than 130 pounds of plastic bags and film in four months time!

Plastic bag collection bins are placed throughout the school.

What started with recycling has now generated a host of creative reducing, reusing and recycling projects throughout Carver!  Mrs. Tate started this process with one small goal: to see any reduction in waste at Carver.  In December 2017, they conducted a mid-waste audit check to see how they are doing, but also how they can improve.  The results were astounding!  The school’s waste generation went down to 38 pounds per day which dropped the amount of trash per student in half to 2.5 ounces!

Mrs. Tate in the cafeteria with the compost bin!

In three months time and entire school has reduced their waste by HALF!  Overall, only 7.3 pounds of paper, 2 pounds of plastic, 10.8 pounds of stryofoam and plastic film, 2.9 pounds of metal and glass and only 1.8 pounds of food and wet waste!  Students are determined to fine tune their process and continue to work to get every single student and teacher on board to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost!

Carver has not stopped there!  They continue to look for new ways to recycle specialty items.  They sent 1128 markers to Crayola to be recycled.  Students are planting seeds in reusable cartons that are hanging in classrooms waiting to be transplanted in the spring through the Carton 2 Garden Contest.  As a part of the Green Schools Quest, Carver worked hard to collect hundreds of donated reusable water bottle for each student to bring to school from home.  They even have started a spot for people to bring items to donate to students such as uniforms, coats, can goods and more!

Supply donation center all organized for teachers to use whatever is needed for their students to succeed!

What is truly remarkable is that this is a schoolwide project and something everyone at Carver needs to participate in to reach their goal.  The results speak for themselves that students and teachers are “Reducing their Waste Line” every day.  The small step of recycling has truly made a BIG IMPACT!


See the pie and bar graphs below of the amazing waste transformation in 3 months time!





Carver’s second waste audit with 38 pounds of waste.

Carver’s first waste audit with 75 pounds of waste.













This is the change in pounds of recyclables found in the waste in 3 months! The wet waste was reduced by 97%!

This is the change in pounds of recyclables found in the waste in 3 months! The average waste per student going to the trash was reduced by half!



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