Our eco-team wanted to improve the recycling habits of the students and staff at our school. We noticed many errors in all three bins (trash can, blue box, grey bin). We want to find a way to educate, motivate, and inspire the staff and students to reduce our school’s carbon footprint.Our goal was to recycle properly, and then work to reduce our recycling and trash by reusing water bottles. Our school has a water bottle refill station. We wanted to make better use of it and reduce our carbon footprint at the same time!
We invited the Niagara Region Waste Management team to come to our school and present to each division about recycling. They gave an engaging presentation, with many visuals and activities. They also gave us enough posters for all classrooms and our Breakfast Program area. The eco-team posted Eco-Announcements everyday to inform the school of the importance of recycling. Announcements included links to facts, videos, and games related to the importance of recycling. Many teachers and students reported a strong interest in our announcements and started talking about what they learned in the halls and during class time. The eco-team held competitions between the classes to see who the best and worst recyclers were each week. We made trophies and announced the winners in the announcements each Friday. After five weeks, we found students and staff were developing habits of recycling properly without needing reminders or prompts. Our caretaker also started to comment on how well we were all doing. He said he had to order two more recycle bins for at the curb! Soon after this point, we decided to join the Grocery Bag Grab Challenge and work to educate the school about the dangers of plastic bags, and need to reduce our use of plastics in general. Our school brought in over 12,000 grocery bags! We stuffed them all into a minivan, right to the ceiling and submitted them to our local Walmart to complete our entry in the contest. We are still waiting to hear the final results of that contest. We also set up Earth Day activities in our gym for the students in each class to rotate through. There was a banner for them to write and draw earth-friendly messages on, an eco-art table to make crafts, recycle toss games, a potting station, and netbooks with educational websites with recycling games. From there, we looked at how many plastic water bottles our school uses each week, and collected them separate from our other recycling materials. After looking around for a good deal on reusable water bottles, we came to realize that the money earned from this grant/project wasn’t quite enough to buy all students a reusable water bottle. We wanted to be sure everyone got one, so we asked parent council to support us in our efforts. They were gracious enough to chip in the rest of the money we needed. We are so excited to present every student with a new reusable water bottle! Our school has not only learned how to recycle properly, but has also developed a passion for saving the planet!