Greening Your School : Recycling

Recycling means more than just sorting your waste – green building takes this a step further by recycling building materials and reducing the amount of waste to landfill.

Quick wins

  • Start a compost or worm farm. Fruit and vegetable scraps, garden clippings and leaves make up nearly 40% of household waste. A school compost or worm farm can recycle green waste and create a natural fertiliser. Draw up a school roster and ask each class to take it in turns to collect organic scraps from the schoolyard – which will keep your school looking clean and green!
  • Set a target to save trees. It takes 17 trees to make one tonne of paper. Encourage children using both sides of paper, use scrap paper for artwork and put their unwanted paper in the recycling bin. Audit your students’ paper consumption and set a target to save trees.
  • Say no to plastic. Australians use over 10 million plastic bags each day. Make your school a plastic bag free zone. And while you’re at it, ask parents to avoid using plastic wrap in school lunches. Sandwiches can go straight into school lunch boxes and old-fashioned brown paper bags can be recycled.

Medium-level projects

  • Open a clothing pool. Recycle school uniforms by setting up a school clothing pool. Ask parents to donate unwanted uniforms and any profits you make from their sale can go back into your sustainability initiatives.
  • Start a swap club. Most children have more books, DVDs and CDs than they really need, so start a swap club at the school to encourage children to borrow rather than buy. Apart from the money they save, they’ll also help the environment by reducing the amount of energy required for manufacturing, packaging and transporting products.

Major investments

  • Create a dedicated recycling zone. A storage area for the separation and collection of recyclable waste will miminise your school’s contribution to landfill.
  • Reduce building waste. If you are undertaking a major refurbishment, consider how you can re-use existing building materials to reduce the amount of construction waste ending up in landfill. Some new developments incorporate the existing building façade, or recycle concrete, steel and other materials to limit the amount of waste.

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