Belle Chasse Academy: Simple Solutions for Big Results

Are you as smart as a 3rd grader? When it comes to recycling, adults can take a cue from children: the simpler the task, the more likely it is to be done. Take recycling for instance: young students may not yet be able to understand the complexities of landfill engineering and how to prevent leachate from contaminating underground aquifers, but they know that the less stuff you bury in the ground the better for the earth! Give them a simple way to recycle items and they’ll gladly participate.

To that end Belle Chasse Academy (BCA) has placed blue recycling trashcans inside every classroom and staff office. With convenient access to a distinctive low cost blue bin (green is nice too) the students can easily recycle paper, cans and plastic bottles. Our student Green Team collects the recycling twice per week so the bins get emptied on a regular basis. Does your business provide trash can sized recycling bins in every office or cubicle? This is a very low cost, highly effective way to significantly increase the amount of recycling collected at your establishment.

Two other simple ideas at BCA have resulted in significant savings of money and lowering our carbon footprint. First, we have begun installing electric hand dryers in every bathroom. The negligible increase in electricity costs are more than offset by the savings on paper towels. Our 956 student K-8 school was using approximately $18,000 worth of paper towels every year! Children (and adults) tend to use far more towels than necessary to dry their hands. That’s a lot of paper waste not going into the landfill and a lot of money saved that can be redirected to providing an excellent education for our students.

The other energy saving strategy we have employed this year is to install light timers/sensors in every classroom and bathroom. Rather than having our building lit up like a Christmas tree at night when no one is using the facility, these timers make sure that even if the teachers or custodians forget to turn off the lights the system will automatically shut itself off after a certain period of disuse.