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Brentwood Elementary - 2015

Contact: Margo Glover & Allison Smeltzer

Team Name: DC Club

Campaign Goal:

We decided that students were throwing away too much garbage at snack time and lunch time. We heard about the company Terracycle that lets you send them garbage for recycling and lets you earn points. There were lots of cookie and cracker wrappers that we could collect. Same with the Lunchmate trays. We decided to collect both of these items. We wanted to see how many we could collect to make a difference in how much garbage we made.

What did we do?

    We looked at the garbage cans and saw how many cookie and cracker wrappers there were after recess. We looked at the lunch garbage for Lunchmate trays as well.

  • We spoke to lunchroom staff and caretaking staff about our idea
  • Decorated orange buckets to collect at outside doors at recess, gave lunchroom staff bags to use and worked with them to create a workable system
  • Gave classroom presentations to explain things to our school; school wide posters
  • Started collecting
  • Twice this year (and we will do one more) we collect all items and sort
  • Made a commercial that was shown to the whole school during assembly

The Best Part

Seeing how our garbage could make a difference to others – turning it into clean water and sanitation for others.


Our biggest challenge: Getting students to understand what should go in the orange buckets and what shouldn’t. We overcame this by doing classroom presentations and making our commercial. Our advice: Look into Terracycle!

Comments about the Campaign

The whole school, lunchroom staff were involved

Did We Reach our Goal?

To date, we have sent in 1600 cookie and cracker wrappers and almost 1000 Lunchmate trays! Students at Brentwood know where to put these types of garbage now. We have successfully changed how the students think about the garbage they create from these items.

What we are most proud of

By sending our garbage to Terracycle, we have had an impact in other ways. The company gives points for each piece of garbage we send. The points can then be redeemed to help others. We have given points to provide 3 months of clean water and sanitation to a girls school. We have given points to provide water containers for families, chicken feed for a month, help for local bees. We have made a difference!

What we are planning to work on next

Teachers will recommend that this continue for next year as well as starting a new campaign – system is in place and it is not difficult to explain to new students. Would like to look at a water use goal for next year. Our washrooms still have twist taps that get left on a lot. As students move on next year to a different school (Grade 4 is only in our club), it is up to the teachers to pass along information.