2017 Outstanding School Recycling Program Award Winner
Students at Mercy Montessori are leading the charge when it comes to protecting our precious environment. Mercy’s goal is to become a waste-free school. This idea, along with many of the school’s green initiatives, has come directly from student input. “Everyday we get ideas from students about what can be done to ‘save the Earth’. The Montessori philosophy allows the child to help direct their learning. This program and its continual expansion is a result of our student’s care and love for the world we live in,” shared vice principal and microeconomics teacher, Lisa Klus. The energy surrounding these programs also supports the Sisters of Mercy’s Critical concern for the Earth and the Catholic Social Teaching, Care for God’s Creation, that calls us “to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation”.
To date, the school has implemented several initiatives, all led by the school’s student recycling champions. These students implement, audit, and monitor school recycling programs. Their work began with composting and has grown to include:
- School Recycling Champions program, providing leadership opportunities for students of all ages to encourage and educate peers on the benefits of caring for our Earth.
- Installation of the school garden program, the Farmessori, which utilizes composting and organic fertilizers.
- Replacement of disposable paper products in the school dining room with cloth napkins, silverware, and dishware. Through a grant from Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District, the school also installed an energy efficient dishwasher to wash these items.
- Community-wide collection of plastic caps that are recycled into benches and picnic tables through Green Tree Plastics.
- Sorting tables in the cafeteria for recyclables, compost, and landfill items.
- Hand Dryers in the bathrooms thanks to the grant from Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District.
- Water bottle filling stations that encourage the use of reusable bottles and eliminate plastic bottles from landing in landfills.
- An enhanced Ecolab to provide students with experiences in nature throughout the day.
- Vermiculture bins (worms) in the Ecolab that will aid in the composting process.
- Quarterly waste audits, conducted by students, to assess student and staff success in recycling and composting.
Mercy Montessori continues to expand upon these programs through student ideas and teacher support. Stay tuned to see where it takes the school in the future!