By
Vera Wiest
HDQM
Child eating a trash free lunch

October 9, 2018 -  The CYC’s Trash Free Tuesday program yielded just two ounces of trash for the entire school of over one hundred participants. The kindergarten classroom collects the trash, weighs it, and graphs it, each week, on a chart displayed in the front lobby for all to see.

For nearly eight years, the CYC has conducted a Trash Free Tuesday program where families strive to pack lunches using reusable containers. From the beginning of school, children are taught to sort trash by compost, recycling, and lastly, landfill. Reusable dishes are also used at the school for lunch and snack and are washed daily by the student aides.

Within the past few years, “Fancy Lunch” has been introduced, where the lights are turned out and cloth napkins are used to add to the  savings of natural resources during Trash Free Tuesday. Teachers sometimes play soft music to make Tuesday’s lunch seem even more special and children help  sort, fold, and deliver the napkins after they are laundered.

Children get excited about Tuesdays and discuss what and how much trash they have in their lunch. Two children contemplated over lunch that everyday should be Trash Free Tuesday. “How could you let people know?” asked a teacher. All kinds of ideas were explored such as, writing letters and making posters. While grocery shopping with his Mom, one child deduced that buying a block of cheese created less trash than a package of individually wrapped cheese sticks.

It is hard to imagine going below two ounces of trash but the trash has been steadily decreasing over the years. The main credit goes to parents, who are thoughtful about the amount of trash they are generating and teach their children to be mindful of how the earth’s resources are used, even though it takes a little more time and human energy. The Center for Young Children is working toward re-certifying as a Maryland Green School for the second time. They are also certified as an Eco-School USA through the Nationl Wildlife Federation.