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We know from our experience working with schools and communities around Australia that great recyclers start young. School is a fantastic place to learn good habits with waste and recycling, that kids can take home and teach the whole family. Here’s a few ideas on how you can help kids become wiser on waste and make litter prevention the new standard.
1. Host Nude Food days. The Nude Food movement has been an enormous success in Australia and is a great way to promote healthy eating and rubbish free living. Let parents know about Nude Food day, week or month and suggest ideas for packing lunches without the disposable packaging. Encourage students to pack their own lunches and it’ll be easy to see just how much plastic is being used daily.
Lesson: Lots of food comes in its own packaging from nature. Unnecessary plastic packaging ends up contributing to landfill or even worse, as litter. By considering packaging choices and its impact on the environment, kids learn about the need to reduce, reuse and recycle while having fun creating delicious and healthy meals. Nude food makes for a healthy body and healthier planet!
2. Start a compost heap. Set aside an old garbage bin with holes punched in the side and bottom for aeration or an old wooden box, to collect “green” and “brown” waste. Compost is nutrient-rich, extremely beneficial for soil and is a great way to put waste to good use.
Lesson: Almost half the waste we throw away each week is organic material, like food and garden waste. Organic matter in landfill emits nasty toxins as it breaks down, but when plants, fruits and vegetables decompose in the earth, the nutrients contained are recycled back into the soil, to be used by other living organisms.
3. Transform rubbish into art. Host an upcycling artwork competition. Reward students by handing out prizes in different categories and by displaying their works of art for parents to see.
Lesson: Finding resource in rubbish is a fun and engaging way to show that materials destined for the landfill can actually have a new lease on life.
4. Organise an exchange sale. Buy, sell and trade toys, books, stationery, and outgrown clothing, including school uniforms. Make this a yearly event and get parents involved as well.
Lesson: There is a second life to many of our unwanted personal items. Instead of sending them to the bin or hoarding them at home, share them with others.
5. Schedule a waste audit. A plan can be made for reducing, reusing, and recycling waste in your school. Find out which areas need more attention and how best to start a waste education program tailored for your school.
If you would like to arrange a waste education session for your school or university, please contact us for more information.