Resource conservation is an important initiative in the Hillsboro School District. By monitoring and managing our use of electricity, natural gas, and water, we can reduce our consumption, save money, and use resources wisely. In addition, by lowering our usage of electricity and natural gas, we are reducing our carbon dioxde emissions, enhancing healthy learning and working environments. The Hillsboro School District strives to understand, educate, and practice sustainability strategies in collaboration with our community stakeholders.
Monthly Green Theme
October: Food, Health and Wellness
You might be curious about this month's Green Theme and its connection to environmental sustainablility. Did you know that food systems are a significant contributor to environmental change, land use, and water and air pollution. Food systems are also very affected by environmental changes which have a significant impact to our health and wellness. Can you see the cycle? Developing healthy and sustainable meal plans is not just about choosing healthy foods to eat. The picture is much bigger than your lunchplate!
Of course, understanding nutrition and following a healthy eating plan is integral to our overall wellness. How do we take care of our planet while we take care to choose healthy meals?
Here is "Food for Thought" to take with you to the dining table. (Remember- small habit changes can have HUGE impact!):
- How GREEN is your lunch? Not just the green veggies you have thoughtfully chosen for lunch. Check out the containers you are using. Do you throw them away after one use? Are they plastic, metal, paper? If you throw them away, are you throwing them in the correct disposal bin? Take a few extra minutes to thoughtfully choose your lunchbox containers as well as your food. This can make a big impact by reducing waste, energy, resources and your carbon footprint. Here are a few easy tips:
- Only take as much food as you will eat. If you have food leftover that will keep, take it home for another meal. If you have uneaten, wrapped food and you are not going to keep it, check to see if your cafeteria has a "sharing table". Food waste does compost, however it is WASTEFUL. How many pounds of food do you think is wasted per year in an average school cafeteria? Use this math formula to help you find the answer.
- Do your dishes! Have you heard? Durable containers are on trend. Whether food safe plastic, metal, glass, bamboo or even fabric... if you can re-use it, USE IT. Single use products are made of different materials; some are recyclable and some are not. Did you know that roughly half of the annual plastic produced is destined to become a single-use item with an average useful lifespan of 15 minutes. If you do use these items, then why not keep them, wash them and use them again... and again. Just becasue they are designed to be disposable after each use, doesn't mean you can't hold onto them for a while.
- Consider limiting individually packaged foods. They are convenient and cute, but they also double or triple the amount of packaging material in comparison to their bigger versions.
- Eat Fresh! We are moving this topic forward from last month because it is just that important! Autumn has arrived and we can all look forward to yummy aromas from our kitchens. Adopting this habit of eating fresh is a win-win; a healthy "you" and a healthy planet. October is still plentiful in produce such as squash, apples, pears, grapes, and sweet potatoes! Processed and prepackaged foods create a lot of extra waste. Autumn produce tends to keep longer than delicate summer produce so eat fresh and save the packaging.
- Plant-based meals are easy, healthy and environmentally responsible. Really!! Developing a weekly meal plan that includes 1 or 2 days of strictly plant-based foods is good for your health as well as good for the planet. There are so many amazing cookbooks and recipe websites with satisfying vegetarian dishes, you would never miss the meat. Raising livestock simply takes more resources and emits more greenhouse gases than cultivating plants.
Next Month's Green Theme: Reduce! Reuse! Recycle!
Capable of being broken down into innocuous products by the action of living things (such as microorganisms)
Biodegradable products are less harmful to our environment because they breakdown into non-toxic elements.
A mixture that consists largely of decayed organic matter and is used for fertilizing and conditioning land
Food scraps can be collected and added to a compost pile to add richness to the soil and reduce organic materials in the regular waste bin.
To process something, such as glass, cans or plastic in order to regain material for human use.
Did you know that products labeled as COMPOSTABLE, such as as disposable utensils, are NOT recyclable? It's because they are not made of recyclable plastic. "Compostable" products need to stay out of the recycling bins and be disposed of in regular trash bins.