Students at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School in Grand Rapids are helping each other care for the Earth. Members of the school’s Green Team take turns volunteering after lunch every day to help classmates compost their leftovers, recycle what they can, and cut down on trash. It’s one way of living out Catholic social teaching, which includes care for God’s creation.
Pastoral associate Cathy Pearce says the composting effort began this fall and has cut down on lunchtime garbage by 65 to 70 percent. Some students are even finding ways to have lunches that produce no trash at all.
Beyond decreasing garbage, the students said they see additional benefits, too. “Instead of just throwing stuff away, we can make it into earth,” said 4th grader Jack, referring to the fertilizer produced in the composting process. His classmate Olivia agreed. “I think it’s important because it makes new dirt and soil,” she said. A local company hauls away that composting material.
Students said it was a big adjustment to begin composting after lunch, but several weeks of the new routine have helped it become habit. They've also replaced styrofoam lunch trays with resuable ones. Some students said the effort has even led to changes at home, including recycling more.
The Green Team meets regularly to learn about ways of caring for God’s creation.