Students are learning how to become better stewards of the land and environment through the School Education Zero Waste Project. (PQB News file photo)

Students are learning how to become better stewards of the land and environment through the School Education Zero Waste Project. (PQB News file photo)

Regional District of Nanaimo urged to continue funding waste reduction program in schools

District 69 participants help divert waste from landfill

The School District 69 (Qualicum) and School District 68 (Nanaimo-Ladysmith) have asked the Regional District of Nanaimo to continue funding compost and recycling programs introduced in some of its schools.

The RDN has assisted the School Education Zero Waste Project, geared towards reducing waste in schools that ends up in the landfill. Both school districts have requested the RDN board to approve the continuation of the successful initiative for the next three to five years.

SD68 learning co-ordinator for environmental stewardship, Shelly Gvojich, who heads the project, appeared before the RDN’s Solid Waste Management Select Committee on June 7, where she highlighted the success of the project that included a video featuring one of the participating schools, Rock City.

Gvojich indicated this is the second year of the program, which uses a data-driven approach to gauge whether their efforts are making a difference. She said it’s about educating the school community on how to make more sustainable choices and become better stewards of the land and environment.

READ MORE: Regional District of Nanaimo extends project aimed at reducing trash in schools

“For me, the beauty of this project is that it filters throughout our community and we all know that kids take what they learn in school and they bring it home,” said Gvojich. “They share it with grandparents and friends. And this way, our project allows us to reach deep within our community in ways that would be challenging to do honestly in any other way.”

In SD69, the schools involved include Errington Elementary, Arrowview Elementary, Ballenas Secondary, Kwalikum Secondary, Nanoose Bay Elementary, Qualicum Elementary, Oceanside Elementary and Forest Park Elementary.

“Through the Zero Waste Grant, we now have compost and recycling program in a number of our schools which has reduced landfill waste by about 70 per cent from those sites,” Eve Flynn, SD69 board chair, wrote in a letter to the RDN. “The continuation of this program will allow us to extend this to all district schools. Along with initiatives, schools are also taking on a variety of environmental initiatives to reduce their overall waste.”

Flynn added in conjunction with the support of SD68, they believe the local initiatives will have a definite impact on the RDN’s solid waste reduction goals and would be worth continuing with support.

The committee agreed to direct staff to come up with report on how the RDN can earmark funding for five years.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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