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High school project helps businesses cut waste

CANMORE – A group of Grade 11 students from Canmore Collegiate High School are working with several businesses in town to help them reduce their ecological footprint.
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Grade 11 high school students Charlotte Setzer, Khara Morgan-Smith and Trinidy Spiess are working on a project to help local businesses reduce their ecological footprint.

CANMORE – A group of Grade 11 students from Canmore Collegiate High School are working with several businesses in town to help them reduce their ecological footprint.

The project is the brainchild of Khara Morgan-Smith, Trinidy Spiess and Charlotte Setzer and aims to help businesses find ways to cut their waste, such as eliminating plastic straws and paper napkins

“If we can get all restaurants in Canmore doing these little minor things, it’s going to impact Canmore as a whole and reduce our ecological footprint as a town,” said Spiess, explaining the project is part of their Grade 11 biology class.

To put their idea into action, the three girls have visited several restaurants and businesses over the past few weeks to get a better understanding of what each restaurant could do to be more environmentally friendly.

At Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company, the manager took them on a tour of the restaurant to show them what they were already doing to cut their waste, including eliminating plastic straws and using biogradable napkins.

Following their tour, the girls did some research to determine how much it would cost other restaurants in town to switch from plastic straws to paper straws.

They also looked at the costs associated with replacing paper napkins with linen and using cardboard take out containers instead of styrofoam.

“Some of these solutions weren’t necessarily cheaper, but in the long run if you calculated the change it wasn’t that substantial,” said Morgan-Smith.

The move towards eliminating single-use plastic has been gradually gaining momentum over the past several years, including the launch of the Bow Valley’s #STRAWSSUCK campaign earlier this year.

Since then, more than two-dozen restaurants and bars in Canmore and Banff have eliminated the use of plastic straws and larger corporations such as A&W have stated they intend to replace plastic straws with biodegradables straws in the near future.

Spiess said she hopes the message not only resonates with restaurants and bars, but also with people at home.

“Climate change is one of the biggest issues our world faces today,” added Morgan-Smith.

“It’s time we make a difference.”


Paul Clarke

About the Author: Paul Clarke

Paul Clarke has spent the past four years working as a community news reporter in Jasper, Banff and Canmore.
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