Last week was Waste Reduction Week in Ontario, a week intended to raise awareness of the need to divert waste from landfills. Across Ontario, many schools including schools in Mississipipi Mills participated in the Waste Free Lunch Challenge. This challenge is sponsored by the Recycling Council of Ontario.The Waste Free Lunch Challenge promotes creating the minimum amount of waste in lunch boxes by using reusable containers, buying in bulk and sending along appropriate portions.
School lunches are a major source of waste in Ontario with the average student’s lunch generating a total of 30 kilograms of waste per school year, or an average of 8500 kilograms (18,700 lbs) of waste per school per year. Prizes of $1000 per school will be available to about 20 schools that successfully reduce the amount of waste in their lunch boxes. The challenge includes conducting a waste audit before the week begins, by sorting and weighing lunch box waste, and doing a comparative audit at the end of the week. It is supported by a website http://wastefreelunch.com/about that contains videos about shopping for and preparing waste-free lunches. Lunches prepared the waste-free way cost much less than those commercially prepared single-serving elements of many school lunches.
In an attempt to help raise awareness of Mississippi Mills’ Recycling Program and the importance of waste diversion, the Town of Mississippi Mills and the Environmental Advisory Committee sponsored performances by Junk Yard Symphony at each elementary school in Mississippi Mills. The performances by two musicians, who use recycled materials such as wash tubs as instruments, were a great hit.