Amity Elementary using recycling program to reduce waste, help environment

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Joy Landry, the Public Relations Specialist for Hamilton County Environmental Services, explained, "It requires a lot of energy to produce food. So why should we throw that away?"

A simple paper recycling project years ago at Amity Elementary has turned into school-wide food recycling project.

"Students very quickly learned how easy it was to sort their lunch materials - to put their milk in one bin and their recyclables in another bin and landfill waste. We even figured out how we could compact and consolidate all of our breakfast and four lunches for 480 students to basically two garbage bags," said Mr. Pat Ormond, 6th grade teacher and Recycling Coordinator at Amity Elementary.

Part of the initiative is sorting waste into bins; another part, the Amity Shares table, gives students the chance to trade food or donate it to a local food pantry instead of throwing it away.

Ormond said, "Not only can we share with each other food products that you're not going to want to eat, but whatever's left we can share with the community. We have taken some tours of the Rumpke landfill. I think the students that have participated in those tours understand that we do not have unlimited space to dump perfectly usable materials."

"It teaches kids not to waste food, which is less waste going to the landfill, and it also demonstrates for them a little social conscientiousness where they can be share food with those that might be in need their community," said Landry.

Reusing and recycling food is more than just sharing. It's more than just reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the air. It's about teaching students the habit of doing the right thing.

Ormond explained, "It's been really exciting to see the kids be excited about this. This is going to be a generation of kids that face a lot of issues in terms of waste."

If you're looking for assistance in setting up a customized food rescue program at your school, you're invited to contact the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services at 513-946-7737; businesses can contact the department's business outreach coordinator at 513-946-7732. You can also visit

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