by Greg McKelvey and Kirk Haley
Orcas Christian School
For the first week of April, Orcas Christian School invited Salmonberry, as well as some local businesses, to do a “Zero Waste Week.” The focus was on sustainability and reusability. Inspired by documentaries filmed by OCS student Dylan D’Haeze, a Zero Waste Week spends a week bringing awareness to the amount of waste each person and institution creates.
During the week, each classroom at OCS had only one trash can, and one recycling bin for the whole class, for the whole week! Each student then kept a log of each item of waste and its impact on the trash cycle. They, along with students from Salmonberry, also had different activities during the week to find different ways they could practically take care of the environment.
On Monday, both OCS and Salmonberry spent the afternoon in SeaView Theater watching Dylan’s latest film, “Everything Connects,” and discussing what habits can be formed to make less waste.
On Tuesday, local natural products maker Carol Anderson came in to help students from the two schools make homemade lip balm and deodorant as well as to talk about different cosmetic alternatives.
Thursday, students had the opportunity to make a reusable plastic wrap alternative by using cotton cloth, bees wax and jojoba oil. On Friday, OCS fourth, fifth and sixth-grade teacher Stacey Kemmerer assisted students in sewing their own cloth napkins.
How can an everyday islander do something different in the name of zero waste? OCS seventh and eighth graders went into Eastsound to ask local businesses to try implementing a “Straws on Request” model. The students found that one-time use plastic straws, for the time they are used, are not worth their environmental impact when they are quickly thrown away. If a customer would really like a straw, then the students provided businesses with a compostable, paper straw alternative to try.