Jason Monk





  • Posted 18 Days ago
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Actionable Tips To Raise Awareness And Reduce Wastes In Schools

Currently, Australia is the second highest producer of waste per head of a population just after the United States. Day to day wastes can be greatly reduced if schools play a part in the effort to reduce, recycle and reuse where possible. If schools take the responsibility and reduce their burden on the environment, they can save money, and make the world a better place. Considering the fact that 86% of school waste is recyclable or reusable, a lot can be done owing to this huge figure. Today, a lot of rubbish still ends up in landfills, meaning that we are losing a lot of resources. This shouldn't be the case though, students and teachers can reduce this by:

Mitigate on waste production in the first place!

One of the best ways to manage waste is to cut its production. Behaviors like moderating throwaway products and buying necessities only, goes a long way in preventing excess waste. From a practical point of view, reducing on wastes is far much easier both environmentally and financially than recycling. Teachers and other stakeholders can resonate this through the school by:

  • Carrying out a waste audit to find out the average amount of wastes produced and identifying the waste 'hotspots.' Classify the different classes of wastes produced and find out what can be recycled, reused or reduced.
  • Develop an actionable plan to tackle the problem of waste disposal in the school. Programs like the Waste Wise School program can be called in to assists in such circumstances.

Understand Your Paper and Card Wastes

Paper and card produce 33% of all waste in most schools. In Australia, statistics have it that, 16 per cent of the waste in primary schools is recyclable paper, 48 per cent is compostable organics, 22 percent recyclable materials and only 14 percent cannot be used. Similarly, secondary schools do not fare any better, as recyclable paper take 27 per cent of the share, composite organics 29%, 29% recyclable materials and the rest is garbage. These figures only serve to show how much action is required to make schools sustainable. These can reduce significantly if schools:

  • Put scrap paper trays in scrap paper 'hotspots' like reception office and the copier room.
  • Encourage double side printing on school reading material to reduce paper waste.
  • Compress paper and cardboard when recycling them so that they do not occupy too much space in the bins.

Utilize The Power of Technology

Although the paperless office is still a far cry away, use of emails, document scanning, and social media are a great tool to reduce paper use (and purchasing costs). Personnel in and around schools can reduce paper to a great extent through:

  • Encouraging the habit of reading documents electronically rather than printing handouts.
  • Sending newsletters to parents by email, and keeping the school website up to date.
  • E-magazines are also an engaging way to indulge students, parent and the community in the school's efforts without printing any hard copies.

Reduce on school's packaging and food wastes!

Food wastes make up the second largest percentage of school waste after paper and cardboard. Food waste is dangerous because it rots in landfills producing a toxic gas knows as methane. This gas is more potent and a greater accelerator to climate change than carbon (IV) oxide.

  • Though reducing food waste can be a daunting task a wonderful place to start would be to ban the use of plastic cups, cutlery, and crockery as there are difficult to recycle. Instead reusable china cups and cutlery can be used in the schools dining areas as well as the staff rooms.
  • Schoolwide propagation of the word is also an effective method by fostering topics such as composting or establishing eco-clubs. Furnishing other students with the knowledge is an inspiring way of starting a school-wide eco- drive.
  • Last but not least, having an award for students, group or individuals who portray leadership in raising awareness of environmental issues is also a great way of pushing the idea so that it can be adopted by the vast majority.

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