Most of the day, they masquerade as third-graders at Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy in Old Town. But at lunch and on Friday morning, they are the Planet Crusaders, spreading knowledge about and practicing recycling and composting.
Callum Jaffe is one of those Planet Crusaders. We put boxes in every classroom for students to collect paper. Then, on Friday morning, we put all of the paper from those boxes into bags for recycling. On Monday, the truck comes and collects all of the paper and takes it away to be recycled into more paper.
In the cafeteria, we have separate trash cans for left-over food and milk cartons that can be turned into compost, and our Styrofoam lunch trays and straws and other things that are made of plastic that cannot be made into compost. The things that can be composted get picked up every day, Callum said.
The paper recycling program began six weeks ago and the composting began on Monday. This program is the brainchild of two Lyles-Crouch mothers, Heather Jelks and Pascale Fondeur. They saw the movie An Inconvenient Truth last spring and wanted to do something for their school.
We thought about all of the food waste that is being transported to the waste-to-energy plant each day and started exploring options, Jelks said.
That was in November. Our principal, Dr. Zissios, and Mark Krause in Central Office have been very supportive. In fact, everyone who we talked to has been extremely helpful, Fondeur said.
Assisting the students
Parent volunteers are spending time in the cafeteria this week teaching the children how to separate biodegradable and non-biodegradable items. Carol Halsey, the cafeteria monitor, also assists.
Im glad to help them and they are learning very quickly, Halsey said. It isnt any extra work for me and the children are excited about the new way of doing things.
The Lyles-Croach project was recognized by City Council Tuesday night as part of an Earth Day proclamation. Earth Day will be celebrated in Alexandria this year on April 21.