In Fairview High’s first 100 days as a Green Star school, students and staff members have launched an effort to eliminate single-use disposable plastics and reduce food waste in the cafeteria.
“We are committed to being environmentally aware and acting on that,” said senior Anya Aidun, who is leading the Green Star student advisory committee and is the student body president. “We want all students, when they go off to college and to other communities, to implement what they learned.”
Fairview, with about 2,150 students, is the first large high school to join Eco-Cycle’s Green Star Schools zero-waste education program.
“We can set an example,” said Fairview senior Lea Martinson, who is the student body vice president. “This is something we can do to help our planet.”
Other high schools in the program are Lyons Middle/Senior High and Boulder’s Arapahoe Campus and New Vista High, while Lafayette’s Centaurus High is expected to join later this year.
Including Fairview, 52 Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley schools are part of the program, which has a waiting list pending funding.
“We work to find ways to produce less trash in general,” said Kim Orr, who manages the Green Star Schools Program. “At the high school level, I can make suggestions, but it has to work for the students.”
While Boulder Valley elementary and middle schools already are using durable tableware, the mobility of high schoolers adds a challenge.
At Fairview, students eat lunch “everywhere” around the school, not staying the cafeteria, students said.
So student volunteers set up carts in several locations around campus, including the library and music rooms, where students can drop off trays and tableware without needing to trek back to the cafeteria.
Sophomore Morgan Bauer joined the Green Star effort because he personally has seen the destruction plastic can wreak.
“I’m a scuba diver,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of plastics and their impact on the marine ecosystem. I might not have a place to dive with a healthy ecosystem soon. I wanted to do something about that.”
Joining the Green Star program also meant that Fairview could add composting to its recycling efforts.
Senior Niko Linder said he was surprised when he started at Fairview that the school didn’t have composting as an option.
“Compost is a really important thing to have so we have less waste going to the landfill,” said Linder, who designed a new logo that combines the Green Star logo and the school’s logo. “I really wanted to be a part of having it here.”
The students’ other education efforts included making a short movie with the help of the film department and talking about the changes during school announcements. Eco-Cycle also gave presentations in science classes.
“We have seen some changes,” Bauer said. “The main difference is people’s mindsets and people becoming more open to these changes. We want people to be aware.”