Mary Jane Sims Elementary has been selected as the 2014 Zero-Waste Champions, an award presented by Keep Austin Beautiful in partnership with Austin Resource Recovery and the Bleed Orange Live Green initiative. The award recognizes a local Austin school each year for outstanding efforts to reduce waste and raise awareness on campus about the City of Austin’s Zero Waste goal, which aims to decrease the amount of trash sent to landfills by 90 percent by the year 2040.
During the 2013-2014 school year, students at Sims Elementary participated in the Generation Zero youth education program to learn about recycling and composting through hands-on activities, and the school had the highest rate of recycling and composting — more than 20 pounds per student — of the more than 54 schools that were involved in the program.
Sims Elementary School is rising to the eco-occasion. Last year, their entire fourth grade participated in the Generation Zero program. Generation Zero provides K-12 students with the opportunity to engage in fun, hands-on activities and simple solutions for reducing waste through an array of lessons coupled with service projects that raise awareness about recycling, composting and conservation. The Sims Superstars expanded their recycling to include composting with worms, and this year they are planning additional service projects to beautify their campus and continue their recycling efforts.
Representatives from Austin Resource Recovery and Keep Austin Beautiful presented the students and staff at Sims Elementary with a $1,000 award, a bench made of up-cycled plastic and a Generation Zero banner. Thanks to the Bleed Orange Live Green partnership, the school will also receive 22 tickets for students and their chaperones to attend the UT vs. Iowa State football game, enjoy pregame festivities, and be recognized on the field during the game. At the game, students will have an opportunity to witness large-scale recycling and composting.