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Tackle Food Waste One Scrap at a Time

Caring for our environment is one of the three priorities defined in Westtown School’s Strategic Vision. To continue our important work in this area, we have been partnering with sustainability consultants, Boyer Sudduth Environmental Consultants.  This piece was written by Claire DuBois, Sustainability Intern with Boyer Sudduth.

Lower School Science Teacher Amanda Jeane Strode is passionate about helping Westtown meet its sustainable goals when it comes to waste. She incorporates recycling lessons into her science curriculum with hands-on activities. Fourth graders gather data, collect and sort recyclables, and transport them to the dumpster.


Healthy Habits for Our Planet

As a new member of the Sustainability Committee at Westtown School, I appreciate the conversations we share that have reminded me of simple ways we can all help our planet. It always amazes me how small changes in our everyday practices and behaviors can have such a positive impact on our environment. Below are a few reminders of the little steps we can all take.        

Reduce Food Waste
Aim to waste less food in your home. Did you know your food waste is not only tough on your wallet but also has negative effects on the environment? 

  • Food waste in landfills contributes to the release of methane, a powerful heat-trapping gas 21 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. 
  • Americans waste a staggering 40% of our food (NDRC, 2017 ) which is 10 times more than our peers in Southeast Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • How can you reduce food waste? 
    • Plan meals in advance.
    • Serve smaller portions and use smaller plates.
    • Review refrigerator contents weekly and watch for items that you consistently waste.
    • Buy produce and perishable items in small quantities so they do not spoil before you use them.  


That’s a Wrap: Eco-Friendly Tips for the Holidays

Caring for our environment is one of the three priorities defined in Westtown School’s Strategic Vision. To continue our important work in this area, we have been partnering with sustainability consultants, Boyer Sudduth Environmental Consultants.  We asked them for some easy ways to be more sustainable in our everyday lives, especially in the holiday season.  Below is a piece written by Hannah Riegel of Boyer Sudduth.  


Give our planet a gift this holiday season by making an effort to be more intentional with how you wrap your presents. Each year, about 227,000 miles worth of wrapping paper gets thrown away: that is enough to circle the planet nine times! Not only does wrapping gifts create waste, but also consumers end up throwing away about $12.7 billion of wrapping paper, tissue paper, and gift bags .

While wrapping paper broadly falls under the category of “paper,” most rolls are not recyclable. Why? The addition of plastic coating, foil paper, cellophane, glitter, and sparkles makes this paper non-recyclable (AF&PA).

These staggering numbers illustrate the need for sustainable options. Here are five tips to wrap your gifts sustainably to help the planet AND save money!

  1. Swap Wrapping Paper with Fabric

Do you have leftover fabric lying around or a fabric store nearby? Use colorful fabric to brighten any present sustainably. The fabric can be reused for future presents or given as an additional gift. Add leaves or flowers for a personal touch. See resources below for hints on how to wrap your gifts in fabric.


Buy Local, Eat Fresh, Give Thanks

  As the air grows crisp and we turn our minds to Thanksgiving, I am constantly reminded of how fortunate we are to live in a part of the world with rich bounty of local foods and produce.

I also feel lucky to work in an environment where there is a long history of sustainable, local eating. Our Archives tells the story of days when Westtown School had its own apple orchard, dairy cows, and working farm. In recent years, we have re-ignited the excitement around farming on campus. Faculty members work side-by-side with students to grow organic vegetables on the Westtown farm. This farm experience is both educational and exploratory for students and produces over 5000 pounds of vegetables each year. It is rewarding, not to mention fiscally responsible, to use vegetables from our organic farm to feed the school community.  

People often ask me,  ”How can I bring local fare to my family’s table and get my kids excited to eat it?” I offer these suggestions:


Climate Change: Another Chance to Lead by Example

It seems we are always trying to find a balance between what we want to remain the same and what we want to change. On one hand there are traditions, habits, and rituals and on the other there are research, knowledge and data that  encourages us to modify our habits. I am writing today to talk about climate change and our thinking about changing our habits for the betterment of our world and our children who will inherit the planet.

Be Eco-Friendly Without the Judgment

Have you ever been in a conversation about sustainability or environmental stewardship and immediately felt judged by those around you? Perhaps you perceived judgment from others, even if nothing was said. Think about how that was a turn-off. Did you feel defensive? Did you feel ready to cooperate with a group in which you felt judged?


How to Talk About the Weather: Climate Change and Kids

Explaining tough topics to our children can be world-shifting moments for them, and as parents we have to be careful to find language that’s appropriate for their ages and sensibilities and that gives them a sense of how they can engage as helpful, caring people. Although we don’t want our children to be anxious about the future, we do want them to be part of the solution, not the problem.

Here are some simple ways to discuss climate change with your youngster:


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