Students put on haz-mat suits to sort out garbage at Okanagan Mission Secondary School's waste audit: pictured, from left, are Jayme Gretzinger, Kennedy Mullins, Olivia Typusiak and Muriel Scheuerlein.
"We got the kids to rip up bags and sort through the waste to see what is reusable and what can be put into the compost, recycling and garbage. It's a way for them to learn where their waste goes," said Alissa Luther, an employee of GreenStep.
GreenStep is a green business consulting firm that does sustainability strategies for businesses across British Columbia. It has done waste audits at UBCO, Okanagan College, and other high schools in Kelowna.
"The waste audit that Greenstep is doing is going to give us a baseline to see how much we currently waste and then give us recommendations on how we can improve," said Michael Ross.
Ross teaches the sustainability class at OKM, the first class of its kind in Okanagan high schools. He said the waste audit will help the school become greener.
"From here, we can see how we can get a composter and a community garden," he said. "The garden will eventually lead into starting a hot lunch program."
The students separated the waste into 36 bags and GreenStep found that about 60 per cent of the waste collected at the school didn't have to go into the garbage. The school will get a more detailed audit in the upcoming weeks.
Lara Harder was one of the students going through the trash on Friday.
"I think what we're doing is really cool. All of the paper that we use in the bathrooms is now going to go into the compost, instead of the garbage."