School’s Garbage-to-Garden program reduces waste

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ATHENS, Ala. – Completely run by students, the Garbage-to-Garden program at Athens Intermediate School already reduces major waste.

“In a week’s time, we would produce about 806 pounds of trash,” said AIS Principal Mitzi Dennis. “We’re down, averaging about 170 pounds of trash a week.”

The idea was inspired by a trip to Camp McDowell, and following some eye-opening lessons about the human impact on the environment, students and teachers came up with a plan. Students wanted to expand their eco-friendly Green Eagles program, and presented their plan to school officials.

That plan includes a set of trash bins in the cafeteria, labeled for different types of trash ranging from plastics, aluminum, etc. and that lineup is manned by AIS student volunteers.

“We’re like the hall monitor, we take note of who doesn’t put everything in the right bin,” said sixth grader Madison Hamilton.

The students even go as far as to diving in the bins to sort out misplaced foods, and taking the trash out during their lunch time.

“We realize we were throwing out a lot of garbage,” said sixth grader Danica Otten. “We’re just making a cycle so not everything has to go burn down in the landfills.”

With more than half the waste reduced…clearly the whole school is on board. and it’s proof you’re never too young to make a difference.

Plus their mission extends beyond their school. AIS hosts other schools and Athens City Schools officials to observe their program. They’re hoping it will spread to other schools in the district, and reduce even more waste.