Nearly 80 area businesses, churches and schools are wrapping up a 9-month "Better Business Challenge." They have been making changes in an effort to be more environmentally friendly.
Staff at The Tandem Friends School in Albemarle County have been asking parents waiting in the pick-up line to turn their engines off. In addition to the no idling policy, the school replaced light bulbs to save energy and students have been doing major composting.
Students have been doing what's called the "Zero Waste Lunch Challenge." After they are finished eating, they toss food scraps in a compost bin that's picked up every week. Then, when it is returned to the school, it's used in the garden. One student decided it would be a good idea to make signs to post around the school reminding students to compost.
"What we liked about all of them is they have both artistic quality and are informative," seventh grader Miriam Skadron said. "They say like this is what you should be putting in the recycling bin or this is what you should be putting in the compost."
The students are also working on using less paper and napkin products. After the school's most recent community picnic, with 200 guests, there was only one small bag of trash afterward.
On May 15, the participating schools, businesses and churches turn in final scorecards. That's when the top winners will be announced.