A commitment to environmental sustainability and keeping a watchful eye on single-use packaging has earned Westmount Community School recognition in the form of a Saskatchewan Waste Minimization Award.
The school received the youth/school category award from the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council (SWRC) in April.
"Westmount Community School's approach to environmental sustainability is what true leadership is all about. It is a philosophy that they live and breathe, rather than a statistic they have to meet," the SWRC said in a news release.
Waste-free initiatives at the school are supported by students, teachers and staff and living waste-free is a belief that has been woven into the school's culture. Westmount is home to Saskatoon Public Schools' Métis Cultural Program, and environmental sustainability efforts provide opportunities for the school administration to make cultural connections to Métis heritage.
Students and staff work to ensure that breakfast, lunches and snacks are not packaged in single-use packaging and the school is very conscious of the amount of waste that can be generated by single-use wrapped products and avoid using them whenever possible.
Students in the Grade 8 class have shown leadership through the weekly collection of recyclable material from classrooms and other areas of the school. The class has also taken on a teaching role with younger students, showing them how and what materials can be recycled and modelling good waste-reduction practices.
Beginning last October, Westmount collaborated with SARCAN Recycling to launch a new program for beverage container recycling in schools, and the SWRC was impressed with the actions that Westmount is already taking to minimize their ecological footprint, and to teach students the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling.
The school has been involved for several years in activities to support environmental sustainability. Classes have organized composting and garden growing in their classrooms. Classrooms have participated in environmental initiatives such as Student Action for a Sustainable Future and the Saskatchewan Environmental Society's 25 Acts of Conservation Program.