Do the Math at Chicago Public Schools' Breakfast Programs

Here's a Zero Waste word problem. Do the math with Chicago Public Schools, 236,452 students attend grades 1-8. If each of these students produces 0.5 lbs of waste per day (the average amount of daily waste produced by elementary students, according to the US EPA), 118,226 pounds of waste are produced by Chicago Public elementary students per day. Think about that. Seven Generations Ahead, wanting to turn this multiplied waste problem into a subtraction problem, helped CPS develop a zero waste program targeting Breakfast in the Classroom, where every CPS school offers students breakfast in their classroom. And now, every school has the knowledge and tools to provide recycling and composting options at breakfast. Twenty-five schools piloted the program, and those successes led to more school roll-outs. Back to the math: one pilot school, George Washington Elementary, now recycles more than 51,000 milk cartons and 67,000 paper bags each school year.