Turner High students reducing amount of trash sent to landfill by thousands of pounds

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Turner High School students are taking it upon themselves to reduce the amount of trash they send to the landfill — by thousands of pounds!

“It is important to let them know that what they`re doing will impact their future, and since we are the future, we have to start somewhere. And I think it`s really cool we`re able to do that here at Turner High School,” student Maria Ramirez said.

Environmental science students at Turner High are reducing the amount of waste sent to the landfill by 80 percent.

“Last year, we received a Kauffman Foundation grant to start a Healthy School/Healthy Community program. We monitor air quality, water quality, and we started gardens on campus,” science teacher Jennifer Thomas said.

Students kept track of how much trash they tossed in the lunchroom last year and came up with a composting plan to keep it out of the landfill.

“As of right now, we are sending about 80 percent of our lunchroom waste directly back into soil, instead of to the landfill,” Thomas said.

Their efforts are paying off. They expect to keep 44,000 pounds of trash out of the landfill this year.

“Missouri Organics takes it, composts it, and it comes back here, and we use the soil for our garden,” student Lillian Hamilton said.

These students monitor separate trash bins for each type of trash every day at lunch.

“I was just surprised we haven`t done anything sooner,” Ramirez said.

“I think this generation of teenagers needs to become stewards for our environment,” Thomas said. “I want Turner students to be aware of their community and issues in their community, so they can better take care of it and hopefully pass that on to their children and make our whole community a better place.”

These students are working on how to create bigger change -- one step at a time.

“That will help a lot more in the long run because when we get older, we can learn more about it and help the environment and teach other kids younger than us to compost and things like that,” Hamilton said.

The $35,000 grant from the Kauffman Foundation covers the cost of professional development for teachers, supplies and the composting service from Missouri Organics.

They hope they can continue to do this in the future, even after the grant expires.

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