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and other ways to reduce your school’s carbon footprint

After testing their school’s carbon footprint, Madison Country Day School students found that the majority of their school’s carbon footprint came from energy use and waste. They found two solutions to reduce their school’s carbon footprint in these areas.


To reduce energy use, Madison Country Day School’s administration agreed to purchase electricity monitors. Electricity monitors are placed on outlets, and report on which devices are using the most electricity, which outlets are using the most energy, and your overall energy use. This can be used to figure out if any devices are using too much energy. For example, a device may be old and can no longer charge effectively, or a device may be plugged in 24/7 when it is only used for 2 hours each day.

Knowing where electricity is being wasted means the school can change their behavior to have a more energy efficient system. Not only does this benefit the environment, by reducing the school’s carbon footprint, but it also benefits the school, by reducing their energy bills!


To reduce Madison Country Day School’s waste, the students first had to figure out what was contributing most to their waste. To do so, the students searched through the trash cans in their high school, recording the items that predominantly occupied the trash cans. The survey found the top five contenders (in order) to be: paper towels, wrappers, milk cartons, ziploc bags, and food waste.

Considering that paper towels and food waste was the majority of their school’s waste, both of which are compostable, the students decided to invest in a crank composter (a composting machine that is run manually with a crank that turns the compost mixture) for their school. Now, this was not the first time this group of students had tried to get composting started at Country Day. In fact, throughout their middle school years, they had tried many times to establish a compost system, but never got results. However, this time, with the support of Student Government and the lower school science department, the mission was a success!

The crank composter will be easily accessible to lower school (PreK through 4th grade) students during their recess. This way, they can help crank the compost if they would like, which can also be used as a learning experience to learn more about digestion. The composter will be accompanied with an informational poster to explain how it works and a basic explanation of composting. The composter will be run by student volunteers, and when the compost has been created, it will go towards Madison Country Day School’s lower school gardens!

If you are looking for an easy way to decrease your school’s carbon footprint, look into composters. They are typically relatively cheap (less than $100), simple to set up, and are fun for all ages!


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