Sustainability Spotlight: Meadow Lane Custodial Team

The Custodial Supervisor at Meadow Lane Elementary School, Tom Laswell, promoted waste reduction earlier this school year by implementing a waste container size reduction. Originally, 23 gallon “wall huggers” were the primary waste container in almost every classroom. However, Laswell noticed that  the containers were rarely even half full. It is typical for students at Meadow Lane to eat snacks in their classrooms, so food and drink waste compromised the large container liners in the bins causing them to be changed daily. 

Laswell saw there was no longer a need for the larger containers, so he informed staff of the change and began switching the large “wall huggers” out for smaller seven gallon waste receptacles. Within only a couple of days, thirty seven large containers were replaced for a smaller size. Not only did this change advocate for reduced waste, it also had a positive impact on the custodial budget! 

Laswell crunched the numbers and compared the costs for ordering the large liners (trash bags) for the “wall huggers” versus the small liners for the new containers. It turns out the small liners are actually one tenth of the cost of the large liners, and the savings are adding up each day. Laswell says he has already seen a change in supply order expenses since implementing this simple switch, which is benefitting the school and the custodial department. Not only does this switch cut costs, it is also reducing the amount of plastic lining that is sent to the landfill. 

Laswell offered his advice on this subject to other schools or custodians wanting to make this change, “If you’re a good supervisor and know your school, you should know what the school needs or doesn’t need and make the judgement if you are able to save some costs by making a change.” Meadow Lane hopes to continue reducing landfill waste by trying out a restroom composting program and brainstorming ways to improve their efforts in sustainability. Thank you, Tom Laswell, for your dedication and hard work to create a greener environment for your school, the district, and our community.