To kick off the new year, Eco-Schools Wales is focusing on waste minimisation – one of eight topics in the programme designed to empower and inspire young people to make positive environmental changes.

The Eco-Schools Wales team are asking all schools to take a good look at the waste they produce and come up with focused actions to minimise this amount. Monitoring the amount of waste a school creates does takes time, effort and the cooperation of the whole school. However, the rewards are well worth it and your school can make a big difference environmentally as well as financially!!

Any building or environment where people live or work will produce a certain amount of waste, and schools are no exception.  To work out how best to minimise the waste your school produces, you will need to consider each category of waste in turn and work out what the best approach for dealing with it would be. A good general rule to use is the following sequence. Consider ways to reduce the type of waste first. If you can’t reduce it, can you reuse it? Lastly, if reuse is not an option, can the waste be recycled?

There are great examples of waste minimisation projects from Eco-Schools across Wales:

  • Pupils in Tenby’s first Welsh medium Primary School, Ysgol Hafan Y Mor, have started as they mean to go on by reducing, reusing and recycling in their new school. Pupils are learning about waste by collecting items that normally go into landfill for the charitable organisation, Pembrokeshire Care, Share and Give. Children and parents are bringing items such as deodorant cans, coffee pots, wipe pouches, pens, bottle tops and much more to be recycled and raise money for local charities.
  • Stepaside County Primary School in Pembrokeshire have saved £500 on their waste bill since becoming a Green Flag school and recycling their paper!
  • Fairfield Primary School in the Vale of Glamorgan recycled Christmas cards, investigated food lunch packaging, involved the PTA with a lost and found uniform sale, and used green eco-points to target and reward paper recycling in classes.
  • The National Eco-Committee events focused on UN Global Goal 12 - responsible consumption and production. Attending schools investigated demand and consumption of sugar, the impact of sugar production on the environment, the issue of land grab and its effect on indigenous people, habitat loss and pollution issues.

So, now it’s over to YOU! Investigate what your school is doing right now and use the facts and figures you discover to develop some waste minimisation actions. Make time to discuss and share information with the whole school. Maybe you could link with another Eco School?  Set yourself a challenge for 2017!

Looking for help and ideas?

Let us know what you’re doing to reduce your waste – follow us on Twitter for ideas and information and keep us posted with your activities @EcoSchoolsWales

Ysbrydoliaeth Eco-Sgolion Cymru: Lleihau Gwastraff