Schools Big Success in Reducing Waste
Around 5,000 pupils and staff from 19 primary schools across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have taken part in a challenge over the past 8 weeks to reduce the amount of rubbish they throw away, and to recycle as much of the waste they still have left. And the results have been remarkable!
The waste challenge, The Happy Bin Project, was organised by councils in the RECAP (Recycling in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough) partnership and Waterbeach based waste management company Donarbon, with the help of The Green Egg Company, that has run similar projects in over 60 schools across Wales.
This is the second year the Happy Bin Project has been run by RECAP councils, and it began with a puppet show that travelled to all the schools in the first two weeks of October, followed by specific lessons on why it is important to reduce the amount of waste we throw away, ways of doing this and other activities supported by web-based information. In addition, each week pupils weighed the amount of waste their school put out for recycling and for disposal, up to early December.
The results are now in, and on average the 19 schools reduced the amount of waste they sent to landfill by 35%! This was achieved by schools either increasing the waste they recycled or reducing the total amount of waste they produced, and on average the schools reduced total waste by 24%. Over a whole year this would mean the schools would send 26 fewer tonnes of waste to landfill; or in childrens units, 4 elephants, a giraffe, 2 zebras and a lion. Unfortunately, one school had its can-recycling bin stolen during the project.
Elm Road Primary School, in Wisbech, the top school in Fenland to take part, reduced its total waste by over 50%, much more than the overall average. It was particularly successful in reducing the amount of school meal waste.
Michele Spratt, waste reduction and recycling officer for Fenland District Council said, We are extremely pleased with the results of the Happy Bin Project, which show that with a little bit of dedication and enthusiasm, it is relatively easy to reduce the total amount of waste that is thrown away, and increase the amount we recycle. We will be using what we have learnt from this Happy Bin Project to encourage our residents to do what our school children have done, and reduce their waste.
Notes to the Editor
1. For more information contact Michele Spratt, waste reduction and recycling officer for Fenland District Council; tel. 01354 602163; e-mail email@example.com or contact Mark Shelton, waste promotions manager, Donarbon Ltd; tel. 01223 815467; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
2. For more information of each schools performance in the Happy Bin Project, see http://happybin.org.uk/
3. The accompanying photograph shows the Happy Bin puppet show visiting Elm Road School. Adults at the back, from left to right; Karen Brenchley, education centre co-ordinator, Donarbon Ltd, Michele Spratt, waste reduction and recycling officer for Fenland District Council; Suzanne Curzon, class teacher at Elm Rd. school and the puppeteers from Vagabondi Puppets.
4. To compare how well the schools have done, for reference the average UK household of 2 adults and 2 children produces about 1.2 tonnes of waste a year; that is equivalent to 5.7 kg (5,700 grams) per person per week. The schools in the Happy Bin Project had reduced waste per pupil to just 0.4kg per week (400 grams).