Recycling Services For Schools
Recycling Services for Schools
Why is recycling important for schools?
Recycling waste materials in schools not only has a direct benefit on the environment; it can also help school budgets to go further by cutting expenditure on waste disposal and can set a good example for pupils that has knock-on effects when they return home at the end of the school day.
UK schools are getting larger.
As of 2017 there were nearly 25,000 schools in the UK, including state-funded primary and secondary schools, nurseries, special schools, pupil referral units and independents.
In the preceding year, eight new primary schools and seven new secondary schools opened. But the number of primary pupils grew by nearly 75,000 in a single year, and as these numbers filter through the system to secondary school ages, it will only serve to compound the pupil increase of nearly 30,000 seen at that level in 2016-17 too.
Larger schools mean it is more important than ever to reduce waste and minimise negative impacts on the environment. With many schools accommodating hundreds of pupils on a daily basis, large amounts of recyclable waste can be generated. Most schools also serve food which generates potentially large amounts of food waste too. Handling waste from schools efficiently is an important part of managing school budgets, pupil attitudes and the environmental impact of these large institutions.
How recycling in schools helps
Recycling in schools has all of the benefits you would see elsewhere:
- Reduces waste sent to landfill
- Saves energy and prolongs natural resources
- Supports jobs in the recycling sector
- Reduces pollution released into the environment
- Creates new material sources for industry
- Makes a tangible difference for our children’s futures
Schools in particular can play a useful role regardless of the size of their pupil intake, as the potential benefits are scalable depending on the total number of children you have enrolled – there may be certain economies of scale, but it is just as important to recycle for one child as it is for a school of 1,000.
How to recycle more in schools?
Recycling more overall should not be hard, but it’s important to get your recycling strategy right if you want to maximise the environmental benefits and the cost savings – especially if pupils are to be allowed to place waste directly into recycling bins.
Make sure you have enough of the right types of bins so that pupils are never forced to put their waste in the wrong bin because it is the only one with any empty space.
Not all bins have to be the same size – use bigger bins for more common types of recyclable waste, for example if your school generates large quantities of paper waste, or just get more bins of that type. You can also have them emptied and collected more often to generate increased capacity.
At Gaskells we can help you by providing a free comprehensive waste audit to identify the types of recyclable waste you produce and the quantities you need to dispose of. Remember, there’s no point having a specific bin for a type of waste that you just don’t produce.
Schools are uniquely placed to create educational programmes around waste disposal, recycling and environmental awareness – this means you can get staff and pupils engaged and on-side, making it more likely that they will make correct use of recycling bins where provided.
Recycling action plan for schools
Gaskells can also help you to develop an action plan for the future, to make sure your recycling activities stay on track. We recommend you include points like:
- Food delivery processes and reviews of stock management.
- ‘Chef masterclasses’ as part of kitchen training to cut food waste.
- Improved menu planning to reduce wasted ingredients.
- Better use of leftover food – can you donate any surplus to a local charity?
- Training so all staff are aware of ways to tackle and reduce food waste.
You can create a recycling action plan for specific areas of the school, especially any problem areas, or for certain types of waste – for example, efforts to use less paper where possible.
These can then be combined as part of your overall waste reduction and recycling strategy. Often it is about using less resources and generating less waste, rather than about recycling the rubbish and leftovers that your school produces, so it’s important to adopt a joined-up strategy to maximise all of those benefits at once.
How to educate and promote recycling?
Educating children about recycling can be fun, and the more interesting you make the process, the more likely pupils are to want to be involved with it.
Think about how you can teach the children that recycling benefits them in tangible ways, for example by using waste paper in art and craft lessons, or looking at the way spare ingredients and leftovers can be reused in delicious recipes.
You might also want to teach children about the long-term benefits of protecting the environment. Consider how you can incorporate recycling into other lessons, for example how contaminated water can damage wildlife in and around rivers, and its impact on the water cycle.
Some other ideas of how to include pupils and teachers in lessons about recycling:
- Invite guest speakers and allow pupils to ask questions.
- Schedule a school trip to a recycling facility.
- Make sure staff, pupils and parents all know your recycling strategy.
- Include recycling performance in updates on the school website or newsletter.
- Consider setting up a part of the school website just for recycling and waste.
- Put up colourful, engaging displays around the school with environmental themes.
- Use the environment as a topic in drama/media classes, performances and audiovisual projects.
- Have a (friendly) competition between different classes or form rooms to reduce waste.
- Link in with national events, for example Earth Hour and Earth Day.
Schools are some of the most versatile and innovative places you’ll find anywhere in the UK – a place where imagination can be let loose a little more than usual – so don’t be afraid to try new ideas and get each new year’s intake of pupils onboard from the first day of term.
Contact Gaskells today for a free waste management audit on 0345 305 2615