Keep Austin Beautiful named Blanton Elementary ‘2019 Generation Zero Waste Champion’

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Most of us focus on keeping Austin weird, but a local elementary school instead championed keeping Austin beautiful.

And that did not go unnoticed.

Non-profit organization, Keep Austin Beautiful recognized Blanton Elementary School during a ceremony Thursday morning for their work last school year.

The non-profit named the elementary school’s students, families and teachers “2019 Generation Zero Waste Champion.” A prestigious title for a sometimes dirty job. But there’s also a payout. The affiliate of Keep Texas Beautiful awarded the group with a $500 donation.

Parent and Zero Waste Specialist Amanda Mortl Walker said of the school winning: “I think they deserve it.”

“The $500… that just means so much,” said Mortl Walker. “It’s hard to invest in innovation things and $500 will go a long way here at this campus to do something bigger and better with zero waste.”

The school met the following criteria for the award:

  • Participation in Keep Austin Beautiful’s Generation Zero program during the 2018-2019 school year
  • K-12 students engaging in hands-on activities aimed at raising awareness about recycling, composting and conservation
  • Student, teacher and community participation
  • Comprehensiveness of the zero waste initiatives

Blanton Elementary is actually the first school in the district to start composting their breakfast-in-the-classroom waste.

Other efforts and factors included:

  • Outdoor compost gardens
  • A student lead, sponsored after-school club about zero waste and sustainability
  • Two Blanton students participated in a district-wide video contest during Earth week and submitted the winning video
  • The administration and custodial team worked on operations and procedures
  • The student government took zero waste on as a project

“The city and the school district share the same goal of what zero waste is, and what it means technically is, of the trash we throw away, of the waste that we have, less than 10% is going to the landfill. We are either composting or recycling 90% of anything that we’re throwing away,” Mortl Walker said.

And the school isn’t stopping this year. Their overall goal is 2040.

Champs recognized at UT

If you want to cheer on the school for their efforts, they received tickets for Saturday’s Longhorns’ game. Some of the students will attend and be recognized at halftime.

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