Updated: August 2017
Providing Leadership in Environmental Education and Sustainability Practices
As "the Natural Place to Learn", the North Vancouver School District is committed to demonstrating leadership and providing the highest standard of education in environmental stewardship through programs, education and facilities that foster greater sustainability.
In 2015, the NVSD engaged a working group through a consultative planning process to develop a Sustainability Strategy that provides coherence, direction, and focus to sustainability-related activities. The Sustainability Strategy Working Group drew on wide-ranging experience with environmental and sustainability initiatives, as well as learning in nature, classrooms, and Cheakamus Centre.
The NVSD Sustainability Strategy embraces a district-wide approach to sustainability that includes six strategic priorities within three broad areas of the NVSD community:
- Process: The structures that guide how we plan, act, share, and celebrate.
- Programs: Educational practices and partnerships that support a sustainable school district.
- Place: The natural and built environments that support the NVSD community.
The Sustainability Strategy is available here.
The implementation of this Sustainability Strategy, including the development and articulation of specific goals, metrics, and timelines, will be guided and supported by an ongoing collaborative process.
The North Vancouver School District's vision is to "provide world-class instruction and a rich diversity of engaging programs to inspire success for every student and bring communities together to learn, share and grow."
The Board's Sustainability Policy, Ten-Year Strategic and Three-Year Operating Plan, Outdoor Learning Spaces Policy, and the BC Ministry of Education’s Sustainability Education Framework provide the policy context that supports the development and maintenance of a holistic sustainability plan for the School District.
Getting Greener: The Organics Disposal Ban and Recycling in Schools
As you likely know, the Metro-Vancouver-wide effort to keep food scraps out of the landfill is now in full gear. All schools and school district facilities are expected to fully comply with Metro Vancouver's organic waste disposal ban. To do this, we are preparing to roll out new, compartmentalized receptacles in all our schools later this spring. “Organics only”, “Waste Only”, “Mixed Recyclables” and “Paper” will each receive a designated bin to simplify sorting.
Located in hallways and high traffic areas, the receptacles will allow for staff, students and even visitors to send waste in the right direction.
From apple cores to pizza boxes, by keeping organic waste out of the landfill, Metro Vancouver expects to achieve an overall 70% recycling rate in 2015, and up to 80% by the year 2020. By diverting organics from the landfill, methane, a potent greenhouse gas, will be reduced in the atmosphere (deprived of adequate oxygen to promote the decay process, food waste rotting in landfills produces methane). Even better is the boost to agriculture that will come from this new source of compost.
Educational materials are being developed to help everyone understand the importance and necessity of this initiative and staff will be advised as soon as they are available. We do recognize that this represents a change in habits and behaviours, but we hope that with everyone’s support, the transition happening all over the Lower Mainland will be straightforward in our schools. As noted above, the Metro Vancouver ban makes it mandatory to keep organics waste out of the landfill, and we want to avoid any possible penalties that could be imposed down the road for non-compliance.
Thank you for your support!
FAQ - Organic Waste in Metro Vancouver
What are the benefits to the new waste sorting system?
Before the ban on organics in the landfill, food waste comprised about 40 per cent of municipal garbage. Going forward, the ban is projected to keep about 250,000 tonnes of food waste out of the landfill. According to Metro Vancouver, the organics ban will help achieve a 70% recycling rate in 2015 and 80% by 2020. In addition to reducing landfill dependence, the ban helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and repurposes organics and food waste into useful products such as compost or biofuel.
Why do schools and school district facilities need to sort waste materials in this way? Why can’t it be optional?
The ban is not limited to schools; in order to be a successful initiative, everyone in the Metro region needs to participate. Residences, restaurants, supermarkets, shopping malls, hotels, businesses, and schools are all expected to separate organics from other waste. Established by Metro Vancouver, the organics waste disposal ban is mandatory and penalties (higher costs for waste haulers and their clients) will be levied for non-compliance.
How can I leverage the waste diversion ban into an educational opportunity for students?
In addition to the information materials available from www.metrovancouver.org, educational materials are being developed to support the new system of sorting, and to help students understand the significance and benefits of separating food and food waste from other garbage and recyclables. These materials, created by NVSD teachers, will include suggestions for how to integrate the initiative into the curriculum and school day and will be distributed in the Spring of 2015.
Where can I get more information?
This video link offers a straightforward summary of the organics waste diversion initiative.
For more information, please visit www.metrovancouver.org.