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Small But Impactful Ways Schools Can be Environmentally Friendly

Oct 5, 2017 by

You don’t have to spend a fortune putting solar panels on the roof that don’t work half the year, buying expensive wind turbines that freeze up during the winter, or using costly environmentally friendly building materials that don’t necessarily work better than what is already on the walls. Here are some small but impactful ways schools can be environmentally friendly.

Set Up Recycling and a Stream for It to Follow

Set up recycling bins for juice boxes only after you’ve already connected with a company that will pick them up and recycle them. Set up bins for recycling ink cartridges and toner cartridges after you’ve determined where you can send them for money or take them for recycling while receiving discounts on future electronics and office supply purchases. Install paper recycling bins after connecting with charities that haul the rubbish off at their expense to recycle or businesses that take it for recycling.

Consider the School’s Food

School gardens are excellent educational resources, and they are a good place to put food scraps from the cafeteria, too. However, you need to have a plan regarding what you’ll raise and how it will be integrated with the menu. Some schools network with local farms, taking children on tours of the farms to learn where their food really comes from, and buying food from those farms to help the local economy while reducing the distance food has to be transported.

Don’t Forget the School Yard

Find out how often your school yard actually needs to be watered instead of watering it on a set schedule, and don’t fertilize if it isn’t necessary. Select environmentally friendly line markings for football and hockey pitches. Consider replacing annual plants with biennial plants that can last years, ideally hardy species that need little water, fertilizer and insecticide. Where possible, put in companion plants that reduce the need for insecticides.

Energy Savings without Hurting Quality of Life

Don’t turn up the temperature of the building to the point that students are hot and uncomfortable, and don’t have them freeze for the sake of the planet. Instead, identify ways to reduce heating and ventilation costs, whether closing off areas when not in use, installing better insulation, or putting blinds in windows. Consider finding a healthy temperature range for the school day, but letting temperatures move to the extremes after the end of the school day. Replacing existing lights with fluorescent lights is a good option, as is researching methods to maximize natural light during the school day. You could put lamps in reading nooks instead of another row of lights on the ceiling.

Another option is taking steps to make it safer to walk to school. This isn’t an option for everyone, but even a proportion of students walking to school part of the year saves on fuel while they benefit from the physical activity. Riding bicycles is another Eco-friendly alternative, and if many students cannot do this because they lack bikes, that is something local charities should aim to give out at Christmas instead of other toys. The last step is encouraging carpooling.

Solicit Recycled Items as Donations

Instead of buying books for the school library, ask the community to donate books that they already have. Every reused item is essentially recycled, and this saves money for the school. Donated board games for the after school program or toys for the nursery save money and resources, too.

All these methods are simple enough to implement by any school without any large expenditures. Being Eco friendly is not only responsible, but can end up saving you money as well.

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