Duke’s Aldridge Academy (formerly Northumberland Park Community School) joined Green Schools Project in 2016 to support the introduction a recycling programme that would raise awareness of and improve the school’s sustainability. This is a video that they made at the start of their project and a year later the students in the committee wrote this update in the hope of encouraging other schools to follow suit:
Our Eco Team’s name is:
Duke’s Sustainability Committee [formerly Northumberland Park Community School].
The projects we took part in last year were:
- Recycling project for the school canteen and all classrooms.
- Created a petition for removing polystyrene cups in the staff room.
- Planting vegetables to be used in our school canteen.
- Participating in a week long Outward Bound Trip to the Lake District.
The aims of our projects were to:
Make our school a more sustainable place for teachers and students, as well as inspire young people to take care of our environment and to reduce, reuse, recycle at school and outside of school.
We chose these projects because:
We wanted our school to be clean and to play a part in making the world more sustainable. This is because in our school lots of plastic bottles were dropped all over the floor and might end up in the sea. However, due to our recycling bins we reduced the amount of the plastic bottles reaching landfill and therefore potentially stopping them contaminating the sea. This problem has a huge impact on the natural habitats of marine organisms so by introducing recycling bins, we play a part in helping marine life.
A brief outline of what we did:
- We met on a weekly basis with 3 teachers. We discussed the success of the current recycling and other projects that can improve the sustainable nature of the school.
- We carried out Bin Duty, a rota system in which we monitor the canteen bins to ensure rubbish and recycling is done correctly by all pupils and staff.
- We are now in the process of adding food waste bins as an alternative of general waste bins to reduce food going to landfill and so instead it can be used for compost.
Our projects were successful because:
Through assemblies and monitoring, we educated a lot of pupils, staff and other people within the school, convincing them to change their behaviour and recycle plastic bottles and other crucial items.
We eliminated the use of polystyrene cups by staff in the staff room. We did this through a petition, gathering hundreds of signatures from students and staff who supported being more sustainable.
The things we enjoyed most were:
- An Outward Bound trip to the Lake District in which we did activities such as mountain climbing, rowing and other amazing activities.
- Doing bin duty, guiding people to put the right thing in the right bin and I would take things out of the recycling bin and place it in the correct bin.
- Presenting assemblies which encouraged people to recycle and to think about what they are doing before they do it.
- Having our work featured in the Guardian, showing people all over the country what we were achieving.
- We presented our work at an event about the Environment in Brexit Britain, speaking alongside an MP to members of the public.
One thing we would do to improve the projects is:
Our next step for the project this year is to introduce food waste bins and improve the green space and gardens in the schools to incorporate compost bins, preventing food waste from going to landfill sites.
Through being in the Eco Team we have developed the skills of:
- Public Speaking
- Persuasiveness towards other pupils
This year, we plan to:
- Introduce food waste composting.
- Increasing green spaces within the school.
We would recommend the Green Schools Project because:
Being part of a Sustainability Committee helps to reduce pollution in the world. There are also many future jobs and career prospects in sustainability, such as producing more hybrid cars in the future and being part of the committee helps to improve the skills that will be required for these jobs.
A couple of quotes from sustainability committee members:
“As a member of the sustainability committee I have learnt what it means to recycle and how this reimburses our planet earth.”
“I loved visiting the Veolia Haringey Waste Disposal Centre where we saw first hand the impact of not recycling. It opened my eyes and made me realise the benefit of the work we were doing at school.”
It has been great to see the progress that the students have made in getting their school to recycle more and encourage students and staff to take this behaviour home and into their community. It was also brilliant to see them speaking confidently to the public at our event and see them demonstrate the skills that they have learned in implementing these important projects.
If you are a teacher at a school that would like to set up a sustainability committee or improve an existing group please get in touch or if you know a school, primary or secondary, that could benefit from this kind of work please let them know about us.