Child Development and Family Center (CDFC) goes green

Things just got a little greener at NIU’s Child Development and Family Center (CDFC) thanks to a generous grant from the DeKalb County Community Foundation. For Kristin Schulz, executive director of the CDFC, the $11,550 grant means there will be less waste going to area landfills.

“We are so grateful to the DeKalb County Community Foundation,” Schulz said. “We also hope that our efforts encourage other businesses in DeKalb to consider ways that they can convert to more sustainable practices.”

The CDFC provides high quality child care to the children of NIU students, faculty, staff and community members. Along with enrolling children ages 3 months to 5 years, the center provides valuable learning and research opportunities in child development for NIU students and faculty members.

With a goal of being good stewards of the planet, Schulz said they began collecting data on how many single use meal service items were used on a daily basis when providing meal service to children.

“As long as we could find a different way to serve meals and limit or eliminate single use meal supply items, it was feasible to make a difference,” Schulz said.

The majority of the center’s waste is from their meal service, Schulz said, which includes disposable plates, cups, plastic forks, spoons and knives. The solution to decreasing waste was to purchase and install dishwasher units in the classrooms, but the question of how to fund it remained an issue.

The center opted to apply for a grant from the DeKalb County Community Foundation,  and titled the project “The Green Make Over.”

Mission accomplished.

“We hope to remove one cabinet from each classroom to install a dishwasher, and with this grant we are hoping that will cover four to five units,” Schulz said. “Our next step will then be to purchase wheatgrass dish sets to replace our single use products, and that will severely decrease the solid waste our business puts into our county landfills.”

Learn more about NIU’s Child Development and Family Center.

Source: NIU Today CHHS News

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