A fifth-grader at Cedar Lane Elementary in Ashburn has caught countywide attention for her efforts to rein in waste at her school.
After seeing how many milk cartons, whole fruit and other cafeteria food items were left uneaten after lunch and thus sent to the landfill, Erin Mason and the school’s environmental awareness team, the Forever Greens, got to work. Erin helped lead the effort for the school to take part in the Food Recovery Program, which diverts uneaten, usable food purchased from school cafeterias to area groups who serve food-insecure families in Loudoun.
Erin volunteers to help the cafeteria hostesses transport and store food collected after lunch each day. She makes sure the ice packs needed for the perishables cooler are refrozen each night, and continues to encourage students to be mindful of their food choices in order to reduce food waste. An article on the Loudoun County Public Schools website recently spotlighted Erin for her efforts. The article reported that during a recent “waste weigh-in,” the school had collected 8 pounds of recycling and 30 pounds of recovered food.