Australia is a major producer of waste. Three of the biggest reasons are households, the industrial sector, and schools. Around 30% of the waste coming from schools is food waste, but there is a lot more to school waste than that. Here’s what you need to know about school waste, and what you can do to ensure your school is leading the best examples for recycling and waste reduction.
Type of Waste Found In Schools
Before you can reduce waste at schools, you need to know the major types of waste found in schools.
- Food waste
- Gardening waste
- Plastic bottles
- Plastics, glass, aluminium
- Paper waste (paper, notebooks, books, etc.)
- Furniture (desks, chairs, etc.)
- Office equipment (computers, printers, copiers, etc.)
- Old sporting equipment
How To Manage Waste in Schools
If you want to set about reducing the amount of waste in schools, the first step is to carry out waste audits. You need to know where the biggest waste issues are so you can build a plan to tackle those issues on an individual level.
Administrators should take action to encourage students to reduce the waste in their schools. Waste management in schools can take a variety of shapes.
- Engage the teaching staff in environmental impact projects.
- Make waste management a learning opportunity and encourage teachers to provide lessons on reducing waste your students will carry away with them.
- A composting program is an excellent way to teach students about the circle of life. It can contribute to the school garden, encouraging your students to use school waste to grow vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers.
- Colour-coded bins should be easy for students and staff to access. If a certain type of waste is going to be produced in a particular area, have the right bin in place for everyone to use it. For example, paper recycling bins should be in computer rooms, classrooms, and offices. Organic bins and recycling bins should be in the kitchen and tearoom areas. Provide signage that clearly defines what should be in each bin to ensure the right items end up in the correct bins.
- Young people tend to be more proactive about the environment than older generations. They are more than likely reusing and recycling at home already. So, it won’t be too difficult to get them on board with dealing with waste in schools. You just need to provide them with the right resources to do the right thing.
- You may want to consider instituting, or at least working toward, a carry-in, carry out policy. It encourages students to pack lunches in lunchboxes with reusable bottles and packaging because whatever they bring into the school must go home with them at the end of each day. To ease your students in, start by having one carry-in, carry out day a week. You can then add another day until you win everyone around and make it policy. When you get to that point you can remove bins from the property.
How To Reduce Waste in Schools
While schools produce a lot of waste, there are plenty of ways for schools to reduce their waste or set about recycling waste.
- Reusing & Recycling
If it can be repaired safely, then you should have it repaired. If it cannot be repaired, ensure it is recycled appropriately. Look into sending equipment to a refurbishment company. Or one that will repurpose the items.
It will save money and energy. Encourage students to refill, reuse, repair, or refurbish before they cast it off. The administrators should role model the correct way to do it so that it’s only natural for students to replicate it.
- Modern Equipment
If your school has a canteen or tuck shop, you should use stainless-steel compactors to deal with waste.
Compost is a clever way to deal with food waste that can later serve the school garden. To set up an effective program, ensure there are compost bins wherever students and teachers snack and lunch. What can go in your compost heap? Food waste, garden waste, coffee grounds, tea grounds, vegetable and fruit peels, and shredded paper waste. You can use the compost in the school garden to control weeds, control pests, and retain moisture.
If there is equipment that is no longer of use to your school, look into charity groups or local organisations that can make use of it.
- Back To School
At the start of every school year, adults rush to the shops to stock up on all manner of supplies to ensure their student has everything they need to get back to school. Liaise with parents and guardians to ensure the return is as environmentally friendly as possible. Encourage them to purchase refillable pens and pencils, reusable bottles and lunchboxes.
Likewise, there are always items schools purchase that go unused. If you have these items on hand, either utilise them in the new school year instead of ordering them again. Or look into donating them to community organisations instead.
- Waste Team
Create a waste management team of students and teachers. You can rotate the members monthly or every school year. It can be voluntary or even on an election basis. Whatever it takes – the team can spearhead new waste management ideas and provide the student body with encouragement and advice on how to reduce waste. You will be far more successful if everyone is involved.
You can send documents via email, and you don’t need to print every email. Technology is your friend, and it can be a major help in fighting waste.
- Clear the lost and found every month, sending unclaimed items to local op shops.
- If you’re clearing out old furniture and equipment, look for a recycling project or a re-use network that will upcycle the items.
- Remove disposable items from circulation.
- Install water refill stations to encourage students to bring their own reusable drinking bottles.
- Set all of the printers to double-sided printing only.
- Empty jars can be reused to hold office supplies.
- Where paper is necessary, purchase recycled paper.
- Participate in battery and printer cartridge recycling.
- External Help
If you are struggling with waste, professionals can help you remove the waste you’re holding onto on-site. A rubbish removal company will come to your location, collect everything, and remove it from the premises. It means that everything is gone in one fell swoop, and the removal team will recycle as much of it as possible.
How Cheapest Load of Rubbish Can Help
There are plenty of waste management methods schools can use to reduce waste, and increase recycling. A clean environment will provide students with a clean, healthy environment in which to learn.
If you are a school in need of rubbish removal in Sydney, Cheapest Load of Rubbish can help. When you call in our crack team of Sydney rubbish removal professionals, we will remove the waste from your education centre and dispose of it appropriately. Up to 80% of what we uplift goes to recycling centres. So, we take great care with sorting your waste properly, to ensure as much is recycled as possible. Contact us for a quote or pick up the phone to speak to our team right now.