Unit 8 - Improving the environment, Section 2 and 3.
This unit offers the opportunity for cross-curricular activities involving Geography, Science, Citizenship, Maths, IT and Art. The basic premise involves students producing an audit of the school’s waste production and identifying how to minimise waste by reduction, reuse and recycling. The following activities will also aid a school in their bid to achieve Eco-Schools status.
Waste produced by a school has a number of consequences that the pupils should be aware of:
- Disposal - the school has to pay to have the waste taken away
- Global warming – landfills produce gases that add to global warming
- Recycling - landfills contain resources that could be recycled
- Energy – using raw materials is often less energy efficient than recycling waste
- Deforestation – by recycling paper the need to cut down natural woodland is reduced
- Litter – excess litter has a visual impact, environmental and health consequences
Where can I get advice about recycling locally?
Speak to your local council's Environmental Health Department.
I would like to do more recycling but I don't know where to send the material we collect?
If your local council's Environmental Health Department cannot advise you, try searching the internet, there are many companies willing to pay for your waste.
Our school would like to recycle more but recycling bins, water butts, compost heaps etc. are expensive?
Many local authorities have green grants up to £500. Gather your costs and submit a bid. Alternatively, many companies are happy to sponsor environmental projects in schools, have your students write letters.
Using a simple plan of the school, carry out a survey of where litter is being dropped. Cross-reference your findings against bin location - are they distributed evenly? If the problem is one of attitude, encourage organised litter picking.
Collect all the waste produced in the classroom over the course of a week. Sort into categories and quantify each type. You may like to make use of the school's computers by producing graphs to represent findings.
At the end of the audit, head a discussion. Possible topics include:
- Can we reuse waste paper produced by the photocopier?
- Are laser-ink cartridges recyclable?
- Does every classroom have a paper-recycling bin?
- Do we use enough paper to justify having a paper-recycling skip?
- What about if parents bring in their waste paper?
- Could fruit left over from break times be added to a compost heap?
- Are bottles and cans brought into school by students recycled?
An existing audit sheet can be downloaded from the Eco-School's website: http://www.eco-schools.org.uk