Story by Jasmine Buttler ’20

Today, people all around the world are becoming more conscious about protecting the Earth and its resources. Schools, businesses and homes are implementing sustainability elements into their everyday activities.

Over the summer, Marian took steps to make the school more environmentally-friendly, starting with the Harper Cafe. Changes to the cafeteria include compostable utensils, plates, bowls, napkins, trash bags and yogurt containers. These materials will break down more easily than traditional plastic and help eliminate food waste.

Other efforts to make Marian a more sustainable place are water bottle refill stations in the hallways. These will encourage students to use reusable water bottles instead of buying plastic water bottles from the vending machines.

Marian senior and president of the Sustainability Club Sara Lighthart says that the tools implemented help with both eliminating waste at school and educating students.

Marian received a donation to cover the start-up costs, and the costs of new containers and utensils are subsidized with grant money.

The increase in lunch prices are due to the menu item changes. Compared to lunch costs at other schools two years ago, though, Marian was the least expensive. Mr. Tim Eoriatti, head of the cafeteria, always works hard to make sure that prices are as low as possible.

According to Hillside Solutions, Marian redirected 80% of its waste away from landfills during launch week of the new composting system. If this rate continues, 7,000 pounds of material will go to Hillside Solutions’ compost farm just this school year alone. Altogether, 80% of waste produced is composted each day.

Principal Susie Sullivan offered some advice about how students can make the process go more smoothly: “Be vigilant in what you throw out and in which container!”

“As we continue to go about teaching students about waste, composting and recycling, we are also making sure they know that this is what we need to do to eliminate waste to protect our home,” Lighthart said. “We need to treat the Earth well, and we need to treat it like our house.”

Sustainability doesn’t have to stop here at Marian. Lighthart’s suggestions about being sustainable in everyday life include packing lunches using Tupperware instead of plastic bags, using reusable cups for coffee or water, educating your family and friends outside of the Marian community, and following the news.

“We want to stay connected to the news because we want to see the social and environmental issues that are going on right now so that we can find ways to change our homes and communities, which will overall benefit the Earth,” Lighthart said.