New Orleans Charter Math and Science High School will receive $1,000 from the Louisiana chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council on Monday, Aug. 25, in recognition of its second-place finish in the 2013-14 Louisiana Green Schools Challenge.
The 2014-15 Green Schools Challenge is getting underway, encouraging students across the state to develop sustainability-focused projects for their schools in the name of friendly and free competition.
Environmental science teacher Jason Denlingers supervised the winning project at Sci High, which started with getting a grant to get a dishwasher and eventually replacing all of the Styrofoam plates used in the cafeteria with reusable dishware. The program, which also includes schoolwide recycling, cut the solid waste by half, along with the cost of disposing it, facilities manager Anthony Crim said. He was asked to save money, so he applied for a $10,000 grant from Keep America Beautiful to lease a dishwasher. Soon, the kitchen waste went down 60 percent.
“Ask the right questions to the right people, and bam. We save money and the world,” Crim said. Their Green Schools project saved $3,700 last year, he said. “Styrofoam is the easiest way, but it’s not the right way.”
In last year’s Green Schools Challenge, Ben Franklin High School took first place in the high school division, for the students’ multifaceted and collaborative project. The winners for the middle school and elementary school projects were St. Margaret Catholic School in Lake Charles and Edward Hynes Charter School in New Orleans, respectively. Third-place winners received $500; second place, $1,000; and first place, $1,500, along with an Elkay EZH20 water bottle filler, which tracks the number of plastic bottles diverted from the landfill.
The deadline to register for the 2014-15 challenge is Friday, Sept. 12. For information, visit www.usgbclouisiana.org.