Journey to Become a Zero Waste School – Middle School Waste Audit

NEIA is taking a bold step toward a more sustainable future by embarking on a journey to become a Zero Waste School.


  • NEIA is taking steps to become a Zero Waste School by implementing recycling, composting, and source reduction strategies.

  • Middle school students conducted a waste audit and found that over 75% of the school’s waste can be diverted from landfills and a third can be composted.

  • NEIA is partnering with Black Earth to send collected compost to a local farm and promoting the zero waste initiative through games and competitions to raise awareness.

NEIA aims to generate zero waste by properly disposing of recyclables, composting food waste, and implementing source reduction strategies.

NEIA is taking action to address these issues, beginning with a waste audit performed by a group of middle school students known as the “Waste Warriors.” The audit, led by Tim McCauley(Director of the Middle School), Emma Christman science teacher, Ana Krishnan math teacher, and Olga Faktorovich Head of Climate Integration at Abt Associates, found that over 75% of the school’s waste can be diverted from landfills and a third can be composted.

NEIA is now collecting compost, including food waste, napkins, and tea bags from the Hub. The waste will be sent to a local farm through a partnership with Black Earth, a local firm. The school community will also participate in games and competitions to raise awareness and promote the zero waste initiative.

As a participant in NEIA’s waste audit, Aiyana Allen (Grade 7) says she gained a deeper understanding of America’s waste system and discovered an intriguing fact – aluminum’s growing value in the recycling market. Despite sorting through less-than-pleasant waste, Aiyana embraced the experience and found it a fun, educational, and fulfilling journey. Not only did she make a positive impact on the environment, but she also formed new friendships along the way.

Learn the facts:

The United States is facing a significant waste problem, with the average person producing 5 lbs of waste per day. Most of this waste ends up in landfills, incinerators, or oceans, contributing to environmental degradation and pollution. Plastics are a particularly damaging component of the waste stream, with 95% of plastics not being recyclable. Additionally, food waste is a significant contributor to waste, accounting for nearly 40% of all food produced and generating greenhouse gas emissions.


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Yesterday, our mini inventors went to the Boston Museum of Science to see real life inventions and creations. They dove into design processes to ultimately guide them in their creation of a product which they will be presenting tomorrow!

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This week our mini inventors will be focusing on coding and prototyping. Yesterday, students prototyped a lamp, and today, they did the same with a sound machine. Students then used human-centered design to understand how to improve the product for the user by interviewing classmates and staff. Friday, students will present to their classmates, staff, and families their chosen projects starting from their beginning sketches to their prototype to the final product.

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