Off campus food policy cuts litter in half in past months

Anna Dueholm

Science teacher Dani Moore measured a 50 percent decrease in litter around Wilson between October and November, though she has noticed an uptick since winter break. The decrease came after the outside food ban was reemphasized. 

Moore has been weighing trash left around the building after STEP since October to monitor the school’s trash problem. While she hasn’t been able to collect data every single month, Moore recorded 13 pounds of trash left behind after lunch in November versus the 26 pounds she recorded in October. Her goal is to document progress towards a litter-free school.

“There are usually a couple people who I can recruit to help out. We fly through the building and stadium seating as fast as we can so we can beat the custodial crews and try to collect as much of the trash as we can find,” Moore said. They then weigh the trash in the health suite before displaying the trash and weight in the atrium for students to see. 

Having seen the weight of all the litter in the building, some students feel this is a problem that needs to be addressed. “I feel like we should have the level of maturity to not leave trash behind… We have to be here every day, so we shouldn’t trash it,” senior Ella Schneider said. 

Moore hasn’t been able to identify what exactly caused the decrease. “Of course the scientist in me wonders. I don’t think that’s because I did one clean up once, but it still was an encouraging sign,” she said. 

Moore also noted that the outside food ban was instituted around this time. “I think that shouldn’t have an impact because we should be able as a community to buy things off-campus and throw our trash into trash cans, but my casual observation is that there’s a lot less trash, especially since they stopped selling pizza in the atrium after school,” she said. 

Pathways Coordinator Angelo Hernandez played a major role in the introduction of the outside food ban. “No outside food is coming in the building… and trash has reduced drastically,” Hernandez said.

While the overarching goal is to eliminate litter completely, Moore finds this to be unlikely to happen. “The more realistic goal is to keep driving that trash weight down,” she said. Still, Moore believes the litter problem increased after the holidays. “I have noticed that things have looked worse since winter break,” she said.