Visit the website of Recycool. They have a scheme to help schools that are into recycling. Your school can sign up to join the scheme and receive money. The school gets an account number and you can choose what you want to raise money for - a charity - some new sports equipment - money to spend on expanding you recycling schemes etc. Recycool gives you the boxes to recycle in and collects them free of charge. The money raised goes into the school account and the school can save the money until it has the funds to do what it wishes. Over 3,000 schools currently belong to this scheme. The Recycool website also gives you more ideas as to what you can do.
EXERCISE: Find out if your school is registered. If you are make sure everyone knows about it and see how long it takes to fill the containers. Then try to shorten this fill time by telling other classes about it, starting with some of the scheme above. If your school is not a member then go through the website a couple of times and make a proposition through your teacher to the Head Teacher to join the scheme. Don't forget - Pupil Power!!
How do you go to school and travel home again afterwards? Do you travel to school in a car, or by bus, by bike or walk?
If you have some way to travel then it is understandable that you might need some form of transport to get to school. Dependant on your age it is also understandable that you may need somebody to accompany you. However there are still ways in which you can help the environment. If, for instance, a parent takes you to school each day in a car, do you have anyone close to you or on the way to school that also travels by car? Why not travel together and travel to school in a group of three/four with a parent. The parent doesn't have to be your own - it could be one of your friends. This means that instead of two/three/four cars travelling the same route, one car could do the journey. Share the driving and therefore the costs, using a rota for the journey. This means less cars on the road helping congestion; less costs for your parents (one journey every two/three/four days instead of every day); providing more time for your parents in this busy world; and at the same time providing less emissions for the planet.
Walking or cycling to work can also be done in a group which will make everyone healthier. Don't forget parents can ride bikes and walk as well so if you are currently driven to school but the distance is not great then suggest walking or cycling. Traffic congestion outside schools causes more emissions and lower air quality in the vicinity of school gates as everyone tries to arrive around the same time and at the same location. Walking/cycling can be fun and again you can do this as a group with one or two parents depending on the size of the group. Again the parents can do this round a rota, taking it in turns to lead the group. Walking to school also makes you more alert and pupils who are more alert usually work better, remember more and find learning easier. There is usually a walk to school week as well when walking to school is promoted throughout the country. In 2006 it is May 22 - 26th.
If you go by car and you know there is a school bus travelling the same route -again suggest that you take this. The bus has approximately the same emissions no matter how many people are on it and so you save the emissions of a car travelling the same route. However don't forget to be responsible when you are on the bus. Ensure that you wear your seatbelt and do not distract the bus driver in anyway unless there is an emergency.
EXERCISE: Split the class into groups and conduct a survey around the school. Find out how many pupils travel by what means, how far, with whom they travel, when they travel especially when do they arrive at what entrance to the school. The groups could also extend the survey to watching the gates of the school at the start and end of the school day including taking some photographs and counting the vehicles at the entrance every two minutes. Try to count what type of vehicles they are: four/five seater car; seven seater car; 4x4; van. Try to build a picture of the coming and going of the people at your school and don't forget the teachers and other staff at the school. Everyone contributes to emissions when they are travelling by vehicles.
Do you have any say about what goes into your lunch-box? Don't just think about the food that it contains but what about the wrappings and containers? Do you get your lunch in a bag, box or what? Do you throw the bag away each day or re-use a box? Is the food wrapped in Clingfilm or is it in a sealable box without any internal covering? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself.
Think re-usable and recyclable. Try to find a lunch that does not leave any waste at the end of it. Think of these points:
Avoid using the type of bag that you throw away after you have eaten the contents. Use a container of some type - what about re-using that cleaned out ice cream container?
Items such as crisps and biscuits should be brought in the plastic bag they come in or wrapper. Wrap small items like biscuits in a paper towel/kitchen roll that itself can be re-used as a handkerchief afterwards. Don't forget the buying bigger packets in the first place and decanting these in this way also saves packaging and money.
Fruit is really good for you. It often comes pre-wrapped like a banana and doesn't require any wrapping inside that ice cream container. The left-over for this can be composed at the school compost centre or taken home for the garden compost bin, council used food container.
If you have to wrap something use foil rather than Clingfilm. Foil can be re-cycled.
Drinks can be put into thermos flasks or screw top bottles that can be re-used. If you want a can make sure it is the type that can be recycled. Look for the recycling symbol on the can.
Don't forget the 5 fruit and vegetable rule. Have a fruit drink for breakfast and try to include two fruits or a fruit and fruit drink for lunch and then have two vegetables with your evening meal. Five portions of fruit and vegetables each day will assist you being healthier.
Of course having lunch at school in their canteen reduces waste to a minimum. Because it is bought in bulk the package is usually minimal and the dishes, plates and cutlery are all reused. Thanks to Jamie Oliver dinners are getting more nutritious and better tasting.
EXERCISE: Set a challenge to the class. Every Wednesday challenge everyone to bring a lunch to school that doesn't leave any waste whatsoever. Make sure nobody is cheating by taking the packaging home or going to the chip shop for lunch. Give points for the items left over at the end of luchtime that are not recylable or re-usable. The person with the least number of points wins. Have a word with the school canteen manager and see if they will donate a free lunch for the winner!
Perhaps you wear a uniform. What do you do with it when it has grown too small, yet it is still good enough to wear? Recycle! If you have a smaller brother or sister perhaps they can use these clothes. Years ago this was the normal thing to do. Clothes used to get passed down from one to another child. If there is nobody you know of that can use the clothes then take them to a charity shop and allow them to sell it on to somebody else who it will fit. They may even send your clothes to a third world country where your clothes will be given to children who don't have as good a life as you do. You will be helping the charity as well.
When you are buying things like pens, paper and other items think recycled! Have a look to see what they are made of.
Paper can be recycled from other paper that has been re-pulped
Pencils can come from sustainable forests (Forests where when they cut a tree down to use the wood they plant another tree)
Plastic pens can be remade from other plastics and can be recycled after use
Car tyres can be recycled into pencil cases, mouse mats, etc
Plastic cups can be recycled into pens
Polystyrene can be recycled into rulers
Plastic bags can be recycled into covers for note books
Circuit boards can be recycled into pencil boxes
Printer cartridges can be re-used and re-filled
Most computer printers only print on one side. When this is finished with scribble a line through it and use the paper to print of the back
Smaller paper can be used for scrap books and making notes on
EXERCISE: Look around the school. What recycling aids are built in by the school itself? Do you have bins for recycling cans, cloth, plastic cups, paper that has been used both sides, bottles, etc. If not, keep check on your classes needs for re-cycling over a week. Look to see what items are in the classroom bin at the end of each day. Get the other pupils to note down what they have thrown away today and make a list. From this list choose the items that could be recycled if there were the bins to put them in. Ask the head teacher if these could be supplied. Remember to tell them that the average school spends between £300 and £1000 a year to get somebody to take away their rubbish. If the local council or recycling company will provide these free then your school could save money as well.
Your school could be at the centre of the community, after all your school probably has representatives in most if not all streets in the area. Soon you will probably feel the need to think how the need to re-use and recycle can be moved outside the school into your community. Communities are made up from the people that live in them and take on the aspects of the majority although sometimes they can be influenced by a minority. Think how your class and the school could extend this to the community in which you live.
It is estimated that there is 75 million old and unused mobile telephones in the UK. People often change their phones each year and the old one go in the drawer. Businesses change their manager's phones on a regular basis and keep the old ones in case of emergency. These can be re-cycled to the third world. Even broken ones can be used for parts to refurbish other broken ones. There are now companies that will pay you for your old phones.
Old Printer Cartridges can be refilled and re-used. Yet many people do not send their old ones off to be re-cycled and even businesses sometimes just bin them.
Your school could even dedicate a small piece of land to allow re-cycling containers for the community to bring in their items.
EXERCISE: Get a map of your area, and appeal to the school for volunteers to take part. Plot where they live and allocate them all an area to operate in. Don't forget companies as well as peoples houses. Print a leaflet saying that you will be coming around to collect old printer cartridges and mobile telephones for recycling. All volunteers have to do is deliver and write on each of these the day they will be collecting and post them in peoples door letter boxes as well as companies in the area. Then they go back on the day allotted and collect what they can. You can run a competition for the person who collects the most. The prize could be that when you hand them over to one of the charities that collect these, that the winner is the main representative for the school.