Recycling at School
Being environmentally conscious isn’t only for the hippies anymore. Every day the choices that we make can have a large impact on the environment and on our footprint in the world we live in. While we may be doing our own part, it’s possible that our schools aren’t doing theirs. Here are a few ways to help our schools to start to care more about the environment.
You can start by talking to the school principal, the district and the individual teachers about the importance of going green. They may not realize that this is even an issue, and if you give them concrete, easy suggestions for making a difference, they may be interested in implementing them.
One of the easiest suggestions is to cut down on paper use. Rather than Xeroxing notes for the kids to bring home, copying worksheets in school and relying so heavily on paper, schools can turn to the technology in front of them. There is no reason that a teacher can’t email the entire class with a reminder, or even with a homework assignment. Today, there are all sorts of options for teachers to communicate with their students via chat rooms, classroom computer centers and more. They can significantly cut down on their paper use in this way. If each child has a computer table and a computer and knows how to be part of the community, they will get their notices, homework assignments and even tests online.
The entire school can start a recycling program. Recycling together is fun and incredibly easy. Next to the cafeteria tables and the classroom chairs, they can put out bins for recycling and the students can recycle their water bottles from lunch, other bottles that they see around the school, paper and any other items that their county recycles. They can even create a recycling competition, whereby one class receives a reward each month (for instance) if they are the ones with the most recycling.
All of these ideas can help a school to be more environmentally conscious and to help the students to learn about recycling and green living.
Innovative Furniture Ideas Can Help Protect the Environment
As technology develops, parents and school districts are becoming more involved in environmental efforts. Preserving our planet for future generations is undeniably important, and green living and recycling efforts have more immediate effects as well, including cleaner, healthier learning environments.
According to GreenSeal.org, “green schools have a considerable impact on improving student health, the environment, student and teacher performance and decreasing operating costs.” The organization goes on to explain that shifting product and service purchases to be more environmentally friendly is a good place to start.
For example, certain paints, stains and finishes are created to meet environmental requirements without compromising performance. School desks and chairs can be colored with these products, which have limited levels of VOC (volatile organic compound) to minimize indoor and outdoor air pollution. Toxic chemicals commonly found in paints and stains, including benzene, formaldehyde and heavy metals, are forbidden. Green paints are also contained in packaging made from recycled materials.
Reusable Containers Are Easy to Use, and Protect the Environment
Every day, American kids could be doing more for the environment during the school day. When they sit down in their classroom chairs and open up their school lunches, they don’t realize what a difference they could be making with one small change in their habits. Plastic bags are not biodegradable and they clog waterways and end up in landfills. They can take as long as a staggering 1000 years or more to break down and they will continue to pollute the soil and water during that time. Scary details.
Americans actually throw away almost 100 billion plastic bags each year and only 1-3% of these are recycled. So, what can kids be doing differently as they open their school lockers and take out their lunch bags? They can get rid of every single plastic bag that they have and replace these with reusable containers. Rather than putting an apple in a plastic bag, put it in a Tupperware container; those grapes and that sandwich can go in reusable containers as well.
The school lunch bag should be reusable as well. Today there are so many cute, insulated lunch bags that kids can enjoy totting to school each day and then bringing back home. They don’t need to use plastic bags to hold their lunches – rather, they can enjoy this recyclable bag each day. And, students should have a water bottle that they reuse as well, rather than throwing away plastic cups each day or using a new water bottle every time that they start the school day.
The impact on the environment that these simple changes can make is huge. The impact and inconvenience to each child is almost non-existent. For this reason, when you look at the cost-benefit ratio, it just doesn’t make sense to continue using plastic bags, throw away lunch bags and non-reusable cups. It’s time for a chance and America’s kids can be on the front line of that revolution.