Waste Reduction Week
School is the perfect place to practice waste reduction. Run your own composting or recycling programs. The lessons children learn in school can become lifetime habits. Below are some activities for teachers and students; for other classroom activities, see our attached activities.
- Hold a "waste-free" lunch day, week or month! Encourage students to pack their lunches in a reusable bag or lunch box, use resealable containers for sandwiches or snacks, a thermos for drinks and a cloth napkin and reusable utensils. This includes washing and reusing plastic bags they already own!
- Involve the whole school in a competition measuring each class's waste, hold a secret tally and announce the winning class at an assembly.
- Turn off the lights, computers and other electrical equipment when not in use. Try leaving the lights off on bright, sunny days—it's free energy.
- Encourage students and staff to turn off taps when they're finished washing and to use only the amount of paper towel they need (air dryers can eliminate the need for paper towels completely).
- Vermicomposting is a great way to compost indoors - using Red Wiggler worms. If healthy, these critters can eat and excrete their own weight in left-over lunch scraps every day! You can feed your worms vegetables and fruit, coffee grounds, tea bags and egg shells.
- Plant a tree...or two...or three. Trees protect kids from the sun and absorb toxic pollutants. Shade trees cool down buildings to lessen air-conditioning requirements and reduce heating costs.
- Students can research a product's lifecycle to discover the amount of natural resources needed to design, produce, deliver and dispose of commercial goods. Students can pick an item like a car, T-shirt, banana, running shoes, etc. and then consider:
- What kind of equipment is required to grow or extract the raw resources?
- What kind of fuel is required to extract, process, manufacture and transport the resources?
- How might some of these environmental impacts be avoided?
- "Crazy Crayons"—Gather up old and broken crayons and ship them to: Crayon Recycle Program, 721 Village Road, Pelican Lake, Wisconsin, 54463, USA. For more information, see the Crazy Crayons website.