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Go Green! Committee

Emerson PTA’s Go Green! Committee coordinates programs and events designed to build awareness and promote conservation among Emerson students and families. We support the City of Elmhurst in its participation in the Cool Cities Initiative.

Every Friday Is Walk to School Day

Twenty-five years ago, 75 percent of students walked to school. Today, 80 percent are driven. Driving is the No. 1 issue behind global warming and the rise of carbon dioxide levels. Join us as we walk to and from school on Fridays, weather permitting. Once the weather starts to change, talk to your neighbors about carpooling.

Dumpster Divers Uncover Dirty Details on Garbage

The attached letter from the 4th and 5th grade Earth Ambassadors details the amount and contents of one day's lunchroom garbage. Please read this letter and take action to reduce the amount of lunch waste we're producing at Emerson.

Wednesdays Are Waste Free Lunch Days

Much of the trash we generate comes from the packaging on the food we buy, and lunch foods are no exception. Emerson students generate an average of 80 pounds of lunch waste each day – more than 14,000 pounds of lunch waste per school year. On Waste Free Wednesdays, we’ve reduced our waste by 25-30 pounds each day.

Waste free lunches consist of reusable food containers, drink containers, utensils and napkins. A lunch is not considered waste free if it includes disposable packaging, such as prepackaged foods, plastic bags, juice boxes and pouches, paper napkins, and disposable utensils. And although Emerson recycles during lunch, recyclables are not considered waste-free. (Milk cartons are recyclable, and therefore a lunch containing purchased milk is not waste free. Consider packing a thermos instead.)

On Waste Free Wednesdays – and every day – we encourage you to consider the following guidelines when packing your child’s lunch:

Waste-FULL Lunch

  • sandwiches sealed in plastic bags
  • fruits and vegetables in plastic bags
  • prepackaged chips, cookies, fruit bars, granola bars, cheeses, and fruit leathers
  • prepackaged yogurts, fruit cups, and puddings
  • crackers, pretzels, chips, and other snack foods sealed in plastic bags
  • disposable juice boxes, juice pouches, soda cans, water bottles, and milk cartons
  • plastic forks and spoons
  • paper napkins
  • reusable lunchboxes and disposable paper and plastic bags

Waste-FREE Lunch

  • sandwiches and other main dishes, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and treats in a reusable lunch container
  • cloth napkins
  • stainless-steel forks and spoons
  • reusable drink containers
  • reusable lunchboxes

With this type of lunch, food items can be bought in larger quantities. The packaging can be left at home for reuse or recycling. Waste free lunches not only are a wise environmental choice, but they also are less expensive.

If you are uncertain how to pack a Waste Free lunch, see the attached guidelines or view this YouTube video for a useful demonstration.

“Waste Free” Program Also Includes Hot Lunches

To give every child an opportunity to participate in Waste Free Wednesdays, the Go Green! Committee has added an incentive for students who purchase hot lunch. Students who buy lunch on Waste Free Wednesdays (and any day!) are encouraged to bring their own reusable utensils and cloth napkin in a hard or soft pencil case clearly marked with their name. By taking these small steps, we can help reduce the amount of plastic utensils, paper napkins and packaging that goes into landfills. In recognition of their efforts, students who participate will receive a hand stamp, have their name recorded on the weekly tally sheet and will be eligible for year-end prizes.

Emerson Is a “No Idle” Zone

Areas surrounding the school are “no idle” zones, meaning that while you are parked waiting for your child, you must turn off your car. “No idle” zones include the school parking lot, Mary Queen of Heaven parking lot, and residential streets surrounding the school (West Ave., Fremont Ave. and Oak Lawn).

Driving is the No. 1 issue behind global warming and the rise of carbon dioxide levels. If you drive to pick your child up, please remember to turn off your engine. And remind others to do the same!

Reduce, Reuse, RECYCLE

The Go Green Committee continues its recycling efforts with the collection of batteries and ink cartridges. Collection bins are located outside the school office.

District 205 Eco Leaders Join Ranks

Chairpersons from all District 205 environmental clubs have joined together to share ideas and information. Some schools have fully formed clubs for parents, while other schools are still in the planning stages. Participants in 205 Eco Leaders include: Edison (Ecology Club, Green Committee); Emerson (Go Green, Earth Ambassadors); Field (Earth Warriors); Hawthorne (Roots & Shoots TWIGS, Go Green); York (Eco Club); Jefferson (Environmental Club); and Lincoln (EnviroNUTs).

Did You Know …

  • Elmhurst School District 205 has been recognized by the Schools of Illinois Public Co-operative as one of only three Chicago-area districts to earn gold status for its green cleaning standards.
  • Emerson’s PTA was recognized by the Illinois PTA as “outstanding” in the environmental category for work done by the Go Green Committee during the 2009-2010 school year.

Contact/Get Involved

Go Green Committee Co-Chairs: Kelly Cherwin Fask, 773.895.7111, kelly.cherwin@gmail.com & Kerry Galarza, 630.915.7327, kerry.galarza@gmail.com

Share your ideas for more Go Green initiatives: info@emersonpta.org

President's message

A special thank you to The Vitogiannis Family for providing lunch for our Emerson staff and teachers last week for Teacher Appreciation Week.  Everyone raved about it!  If you’d like to try it for yourself here is their address in... Continue »

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