Students at Evening Street Elementary School have reduced the amount of waste they place into the landfill by 80 percent since last spring.

Students at Evening Street Elementary School have reduced the amount of waste they place into the landfill by 80 percent since last spring.

Big Green Head, a Worthington company that helps businesses, schools and communities reduce their impact on the environment, announced the results of its Evening Street pilot recycling program last week.

The program involves students recycling their lunch trash and composting leftovers. Even kindergartners now throw their leftovers into the composting bin and sort their recyclables into the appropriate containers.

Evening Street's cafeteria waste went from an average of seven bags of landfill waste each day to 11/2 bags, meaning an 80 percent reduction in waste to landfills.

By the end of a six-week test period, students had diverted 2,950 pounds of waste from landfills. The food scraps collected were taken to a compost facility to become nutrient-rich soil.

"In just six weeks, the students had fully caught on to the process, and the cafeteria went from seven bags of waste to just over one," said Karen Ferris of Big Green Head. "Our hope is to expand this program to more schools and organizations across Franklin County."

Bringing the program to schools is a terrific opportunity to teach future leaders to be conservationists by being mindful of the impact their choices have on the environment, she said.

"Students caught on in a matter of days," said Mary Rykowski, principal of Evening Street. "They know they're doing something good for the environment, and this process opens the door to that conversation."

Parent volunteers supervise the process. All grades at the school, from kindergarten to sixth grade, participate in the program.

The school has more than 500 students.

Big Green Head was founded in 2009 by Ferris and Kate Midnight, both Worthington residents.

Its mission is to educate and inspire organizations to "do green" every day, one step at a time. For more information, visit biggreenhead.com.