You may have noticed that the Graded campus is looking much greener, and not just because of spring's arrival.
Since 2018, Graded has implemented multiple sustainability projects, including solar panels for heating water, sustainable kiosks, electric car charging stations, an expanded recycling program, and a composting initiative.
One year ago, Graded forged a partnership with the educational sustainability group Reconectta to help reduce waste and engage more community members in sustainability efforts on campus.
Reconectta has collected data on energy consumption, water use, waste management, and the impact of recent initiatives. Here are some highlights, which also serve as a springboard for Graded’s continued sustainability efforts.
Graded defines waste as all discarded materials. Non-recyclable waste is sent to landfills, recyclable waste is sent to recycling cooperatives, and organic waste is compostable.
Graded produced an average of 16,400 kg of waste per month during the 2022-23 school year. Of this monthly total, the school was able to recycle, on average, 1400 kg, and compost 500 kg.
Composting and Recycling
Since August 2022, Graded has composted 6000 kg of organic waste, which has produced 810 kg of organic soil and has led to a reduction of 5700 kg in CO2 equivalents. The amount of waste sent to recycling cooperatives instead of landfills has increased by 41%. After the successful pilot of on-campus composting in the 2022-2023 school year, Graded has purchased four more composting containers to double its capacity to turn organic waste into rich nutrients for our campus and lessen the amount of waste sent to landfills.
Since the start of the school's partnership with Reconectta, members of the Graded community have participated in more than 40 hours of training and information sessions on best environmental practices. Faculty have been invited to collaborate with Reconectta on the integration of sustainability concepts and environmental projects into their curricula. In April 2023, the school also launched a Sustainability Committee composed of faculty, administrators, staff, and students, whose members identify ways to make the school greener.
In February 2022, Reconectta conducted a survey for Graded employees to share their knowledge of sustainability practices. A similar questionnaire was distributed in May 2023.
According to the survey responses, the percentage of community members with little to no knowledge of sustainability decreased from 16% in 2022 to 6% in 2023. In addition, there has been a 20% increase in self-reported individual sustainability actions, such as recycling and the reduced usage of disposable products.
Graded’s path to a more sustainable future is just beginning. Going forward, the school and members of the Sustainability Committee will continue their work with Reconectta, tackling challenges including food waste, energy use, and material consumption.