Saving every soda can, plastic bottle and milk jug, more than 200 families are hoping to become Waukesha County's biggest loser — of garbage poundage, that is.
On Monday, STEM Academy and Brookfield Elementary School kicked off the Reduce Your Waste Stream Challenge, hosted by the Waukesha County Department of Parks and Land Use — Recycling Program.
This "go green" competition challenges families to see who can reduce their trash and increase their recycling for a month. Each family will have a "weigh-in" every week using an everyday bathroom scale at home to record their results and, in some cases, blogging about how they are reducing the amount of garbage they throw away.
"Our two boys were very helpful emptying all the baskets around the house (I hope that keeps up!). They had the most fun with the scale - each by themselves, with the empty recycling containers, with full ones, with trash. After the weigh in, our 5-year-old continued to weigh himself and anything he could carry — a chair, a box, his cereal. So far, that's the fun. Now to try to adjust our trash habits. We already recycle the basics so we'll be thinking of ways to step it up or eliminate trash. Post any more ideas!" — The Lortscher Household, Brookfield Elementary.
This challenge has only included up to 50 families in past years. Rebecca Mattano, Waukesha County solid waste supervisor, said there are more than three times that for this year's challenge.
"The interest in this program has never been higher," she said in a press release. "This is the largest number of participants we’ve had in four years of running the challenge, and we are very excited to see what changes they make and what they learn."
In previous years, some families have reduced their garbage by more than 44 percent, the release said, and increased their recycling up to 66 percent.
All participating families will get a chance to win a local, family-orientated prize including Milwaukee County Zoo and movie tickets. The schools are also eligible to receive Waukesha County Green Schools grant money as an incentive to recruit as many of their families as possible to complete the challenge, the release said.
While it's too late to sign up, families can learn more about this program and prep for next year's challenge by visiting the Reduce Your Waste Stream Challenge website.
Patch will be following three families throughout the competition, finding out the best methods they’ve discovered to reduce their garbage, some of the biggest challenges they’ve faced and what the most interesting part of this challenge has been. So stay tuned!