“Global Challenge, Global Solutions” is a series hosted on Climasphere highlighting inspiring, innovative, and creative global solutions to the challenge of climate change in the lead up to the next major climate conference, COP22. These solutions have been provided by members of the Earth To Marrakech coalition, a group of more than 50 media organizations, civil society groups, and businesses from around the world who are raising their voices in a collective call to move from words to action on climate change. Let’s send a message, from Earth To Marrakech: The solutions to climate change are out there, and they’re inspiring.
Zero-Waste School Cafeterias
Cafeteria Culture fuses student leadership with zero-waste action by offering programs to more than 6,000 students in New York City schools, located primarily in low-income communities. The programs teach students about environmental justice, marine litter, and climate change. By appointing daily student “Cafeteria Rangers,” who oversee post-lunch recycling and sorting of food scraps and packaging, students practice communication and leadership, while learning recycling and sorting skills.
The students also design arts- and media-based advocacy campaigns, such as giant puppets and video shorts, to educate and engage the school community on zero waste and other garbage-related issues. Cafeteria Culture recently launched a free multimedia series, providing 1.1 million students and teachers with resources to successfully implement the program on their own.
RELEVANCE OF SOLUTION:
Education is key to shaping values and behavior, which in turn help realize sustainable development.1 By acquiring knowledge and skills about climate change and the harmful effects of waste production, Cafeteria Culture enables school kids to make a positive environmental impact now and in the future.
TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE
After just a few days of operation in a given school, Cafeteria Culture’s Cafeteria Ranger program increases cafeteria waste diversion rates by up to 80%.
The program helps to infuse a culture of sustainability and zero waste throughout the school, which students can take home and share with their families.
Properly sorting waste reduces the cost of waste management.