A Zero Waste Initiative In spring 2011, Chewonki launched a Zero Waste initiative and asked the residents of the state of Maine to imagine a world without garbage. While it is clear that society may not be able to eliminate garbage entirely, Chewonki believes that the state and the nation can do a better job of protecting our natural resources by reducing the amount of garbage we generate. We are excited to be bringing this message to all of our staff, students, campers and parents! The Zero Waste initiative includes a Zero Waste poster, a contest this coming fall for Maine Middle Schools, online curriculum and also a campus-wide assessment of Chewonki’s waste stream. Our Zero Waste campaign aims to eliminate enough waste to allow the removal of Chewonki’s trash dumpster by September 2012. We have some work to do and we need your help! A little background This year, Chewonki’s Semester students helped launched our campus-wide initiative. They brainstormed ideas to reduce Chewonki’s waste and every idea was considered and critiqued. Eventually the students decided that in order to maximize the efficiency of the Zero Waste campaign they would need more information regarding the specifics of Chewonki’s waste. Through a vigorous inquiry, which included evaluating all of Chewonki’s trash, students were able to understand the composition of Chewonki’s waste. After collecting data over a period of three weeks, students were able to analyze what they found in Chewonki waste stream and to look for trends. This allowed them to brainstorm ideas for action. How you can help Many great ideas were generated from the students’ work, including reducing the size of our garbage bins, labeling them with the word “landfill” instead of “trash” (to drive home the message,) providing more recycling bins throughout campus. They also identified that a substantial amount of campus waste comes from care packages from home. Students sent a letter to their parents to make them aware of our zero waste project and encouraged parents to send home-baked goods in bulk rather than sending store bought candy that tends to come heavily packaged. We are asking you to do that same and to think carefully about how you pack for your child’s summer experience. We hope you can help contribute to our Zero Waste initiative and consider bring the message to your home, work place or town. Thanks for whatever you can do to make a difference. Chewonki’s poster, which is full of fascinating information about waste, will be available in Chewonki’s main lobby on the opening day of camp Please posters back to your communities, schools and businesses and help us spread the word about Zero Waste. Poster are also available online by clicking here. And don’t forget to imagine a world without garbage – or at least with a little less garbage.