The Lauralton Hall Environmental Club helped raise awareness for November’s America Recycles campaign by holding its ninth annual trash-free-lunch marathon.
Over the course of three days students and faculty brought in lunches in reusable and permanent containers — even flatware and a cloth napkin — to accumulate no trash.
This year the Environmental Club added a new dimension by donating prizes made from materials that have been recycled or repurposed. For each permanent, sustainable item carried, participants received a raffle ticket that could qualify for items at the prize table, such as recycled notebooks, handmade jewelry, lip balm, organic bath soaps, reusable bags, and other handmade recycled items.
The most popular prize to try to win was the permanent water bottle. Club members donated over 45 water bottles, to-go cups, and travel mugs. The bottles are desirable this year because the school has installed a water fountain that fills reusable bottles with filtered water. The counter on the fountain, which records the number of bottles it has filled and saved from landfills, has passed the 10,000 mark.
Environmental Club member Colleen Bradley, who helped run the prize table, said, “The turnout for this event was phenomenal. It was reassuring to see how many people were lined up all three days to help the environment.”
The goal of the trash-free-lunch marathon is to get students to think about the choices they make every day: A reusable container or a disposable plastic bag; a plastic water bottle or a permanent water bottle.
Club President Megan Fickes said, “Now we are asking students to think about more than just disposable versus permanent — we are asking them to try to not only answer ‘Where will this go if I throw it away?’ but also ‘Where did it come from in the first place?’”
The club wants students to recognize that it takes less energy and resources to create a product from recycled or repurposed materials than from virgin materials.
Club Vice President Aubrey Lowe said, “Through donating and receiving reusable, sustainable and repurposed items, students recognize how fun and useful it is to both give and get sustainable prizes. With Christmas just a few weeks away, many students will continue being sustainable when they either buy gifts or ask for certain gifts.”