As Earth Day rolls around, we take time to reflect on our practices at the Seed to evaluate how we’re doing and what we can do better. As I look around, one area in which we’ve improved significantly is with lunches and water bottles. Throughout the school, children of all ages are utilizing reusable containers, with considerably less throwaway plastic bags. Additionally, a number of the lunch boxes are made of metal, eliminating plastic all together. Wrappers for granola bars and snacks continue to be a challenge. I’m coming to the conclusion that until there is a shift in materials used for this kind of packaging, which is incredibly handy for life with young children, it’s just going to be something we have to deal with. I have faith that some of the innovative minds we are cultivating at the Seed will help solve this problem.
Another area of improvement is the widespread practice of drinking from a reusable bottle. At school it’s a lot of water bottles to manage each day, but definitely worth the effort. Between the staff and multiple classes on the playground at a time, the water bottles seem to have a life of their own. Some days it feels miraculous at the end of recess when the dozens of water bottles each make their way back to their owner. Keeping the water bottles filled up is another challenge, especially as we enter the warmer season. We have a reverse osmosis system in our kitchen, from which many of the classes fill large pitchers of water for bottle refilling throughout the day. Most recently we added a new drinking fountain in the hallway near the office which serves as a water bottle filling station, similar to ones in public places, such as airports.
Reduce, reuse, recycle has been an ongoing practice at the Seed. From my perspective, the pandemic certainly interfered in this process, as numerous one-time-use items were incorporated into our lives. Now that we can move away from some of those practices, we are able to revisit the 3 Rs. Although I read up on recycling from time to time, I find the information available to be confusing at best. Recycling at home is relatively easy, but school has numerous layers of complication. For example, educating staff is an ongoing process, having the right color of trash can in the right place, coordinating recycling with our janitorial company to make sure trash doesn’t end up in the recycling dumpster, and training students to discard items in the appropriate place are some of the issues we face. When we begin our summer program with a new group of students, it’s like starting over each time. One of the most frustrating recycling experiences lately was finding small cardboard boxes (recyclable) left by construction workers in the receptacle in the parking lot, each full of fragments of wire, plaster, plastic, and metal (mixed recyclable and non-recyclable). It’s easy to become frustrated over these events, and I have to remind myself to keep at it, regardless that I’m just one person.
We often say that Earth Day is every day at the Seed, as it should be. The official day is a reminder to keep caring about our Mother Earth. We encourage you to join us for our spring picnic this Saturday, April 22, from 11-1. And while you’re at it, check out our silent auction to raise funds for our toddler playground upgrades.