1st graders learn to re-use

Many first graders in Bethel schools are receiving free water bottles again this  year with one challenge in mind: Who can use their same water bottle all year long?
This project, entitled, “Be a Monster Re-user”, funded by the City of Eugene Waste Reduction grant along with EWEB attempts to teach youngsters about the importance of re-use. Students learn about the downside of plastic water bottles that often end up in the trash and are educated about how to look for other items they can re-use at home before throwing away. The first graders are rewarded with stickers and small prizes for using their bottles and will earn a larger reward if they are still using it at the end of the year!

Students begin composting


Irving school wasted no time in teaching their students how to compost for the “Love Food Not Waste” program created by the City of Eugene’s Recycling and Solid Waste Department. Teachers were trained in the program and shortly thereafter, they took their class to the cafeteria to show students the proper way to dispose of leftover food and garbage. The children are very conscientious about doing it correctly, hence very few mistakes are made.

Each day at the end of the lunch hour, 4th and 5th grade students dump all of the compost into the larger bin for Royal Refuse to pick up later in the week. Thank you to Irving School for being the first school to attempt this in the elementary lunchroom. Currently, Shasta Middle School students compost their lunch waste as well.

Another school aboard-LFNW!


Welcome Irving Elementary! Thanks to a training on September 16 by Deveron Musgrave, the City of Eugene Waste Prevention and Green Building Program Coordinator, teachers are now ready and excited to train their students in the Love Food Not Waste Program. The children will be sorting out their food waste into a bin for composting prior to throwing out their remaining garbage.

Bethel now has nine schools participating in the Love Food Not Waste program in some form or another. Many schools divert the food scraps in the kitchen to the special bin, while other schools have taken on the challenge of involving students in the sorting as well. If your school is interested in coming aboard, please email Cathy Bechen at cathy.bechen@bethel.k12.or.us.

Monster Re-Users!



First graders in Vivian Ewing and Tami Wold’s classes at Clear Lake Elementary were given a challenge in October. They learned about the problems with plastic water bottles in a short presentation delivered by Red Rex, the Monster Re-user. They were then given a stainless steel water bottle, donated by EWEB, and were challenged to use and keep it all year long. Over twenty children in the two classes were still carrying their water bottles in June and were rewarded with a re-usable swim bag stuffed with goodies. Not only were they thrilled with their prize, but they were very excited that Red Rex made one last appearance! Great job to all of these responsible first graders!

4th graders make a difference



Meadow View fourth graders had the opportunity to share what they learned during their, “I can make a difference”unit made possible by a waste reduction grant from the city of Eugene. During the powerpoint presentation, students shared posters they had made discussing things such as, “where does our trash go, needs vs. wants, packaging, re-purposing, recycling and composting”. The audience consisted of employees of the Waste Prevention and Green Building Department, teachers, students, Mayor Kitty Piercy and many parents. These students gave an impressive presentation and were able to answer the audience’s questions with knowledge and poise!

4th graders learn to reduce waste

me waste audit


To begin their unit entitled, “I can make a difference”, all 4th grades at Meadow View School conducted a classroom waste audit. Their garbage was saved for several days, and then gloved and ready, students sorted and weighed their garbage. Upon learning more about reducing, reusing, recycling and composting, students will conduct a second audit to see if their education has impacted their actions!

Same water bottle, different day

girls with bottles


The first graders at Clear Lake Elementary are still using the water bottles they were given in the fall. After a short lesson on the problems with plastic water bottles, delivered by Red Rex the Monster Re-user, students were given their very own stainless steel water bottle donated by EWEB. Surprise visits were made and stickers were given to each child using their bottle. At the end of June, all students who continue to use this bottle will earn a prize delivered by Red Rex himself.

Earth day is a great day to go waste-free

celebrate sign


Clear Lake has done it again! On April 22, Earth Day, they held their 2nd annual Waste-Free Lunch Day. Prior to the event, parents and students were provided with information about how they could help create less waste. Many students brought their lunch in re-usable containers and didn’t bring in pre-packaged items. Hot lunch consisted of pizza or tostadas, oranges and salad. Technically, the only items that needed to be thrown away were milk cartons. While the compost bin was unusually full, garbage waste was diminished drastically. Great job Clear Lake students! Next year, with the help of the Waste Reduction Grant through the City of Eugene, this opportunity will be available to any school that wishes to participate.

Composting in the cafeteria

scraping plate


Many schools around the district are now participating in the Love Food Not Waste program in which all kitchen food scraps and compostables get dumped in a separate bin than the garbage. These food scraps can then be made into compost for local gardens, farms and other businesses.

Shasta Middle School has taken the kitchen composting a step further by having students compost their food waste when done with their lunch (as seen in this picture). When these scraps are thrown in the garbage, they end up in the landfill where they produce methane, a greenhouse gas emission that is much more powerful than carbon dioxide. This has a big impact on our environment. Eugene throws over 20,000 tons of food waste into the landfill each year! Would your school like to diminish this by participating in the cafeteria compost program? If so, email Cathy Bechen (cathy.bechen@bethel.k12.or.us) Training can be set up for everyone involved!

What’s new in 2016?

This year we are piloting the new re-usable water bottle program with Clear Lake first graders. All students received a visit from Red-Rex the Re-user and were taught about the problems with plastic water bottles. At the end of the presentation, each first grader received a free stainless steel water bottle and will be periodically rewarded for using it at school. All students who still have their water bottle in June will receive a prize. If this program is a success, we hope to bring on more schools in the fall of 2016.

We are continuing the Love Food Not Waste Program in eight of our Bethel schools. We hope to get every school participating in the future and begin to train more students on  how to sort their waste.

The curriculum unit entitled, “I can make a difference” will be taught again to Clear Lake 4/5 combo classes and another school (TBD) will participate as well.