- Tips on how to be more sustainable and save money
- How to teach children to be more environmentally friendly
In schools, we teach children about the importance of sustainability, but often the facilities where they learn about reducing, reusing, and recycling could become more sustainable themselves. To create a more sustainable and green-living school environment, a consideration for the environment must go into everything. Here are some top suggestions for making your school more environmentally friendly and sustainable that could save money too.
New stationery and school supplies have always been part of the preparation for the new academic year, although for those aiming to stay sustainable, it can bring a sense of dread. The amount of unnecessary plastic used to create stationery tools can end up being highly damaging to environment. Fortunately, when you start looking into sustainable equipment, there are an array of eco-friendly options available including recycled paper, pens and pencils made from recycled material, workbooks printed using soy ink and re-fillable fountain pens.
Reduction of Plastic
Many schools have seen how much plastic waste they produce because of the recent wave of awareness about plastic pollution and have questioned if this is an acceptable legacy to pass on to future generations. We have been treating plastic as a disposable substance for decades, resulting in far-reaching, cascading repercussions for animals, humans, and the environment. There are a variety of ways you can reduce plastic waste in your school, including investing in plastic-free equipment such as chairs and tables and choosing another more sustainable material instead. Other ways can include simply not choosing to sell plastic bottles and installing more water fountains and use re-usable materials for the canteen and school events.
Sustainable Hand dryers
Choosing high-quality, eco hand dryers that are both long lasting and energy efficient will radically help in terms of sustainability as well as lowering your bathroom costs and reducing unnecessary waste. Using an Eco Hand Dryer instead of pricey paper towels will save you up to 97% on annual costs while also improving cleanliness. Further to this, good quality hand dryers eliminate the need to refill and dispose of paper towels, lowering maintenance costs. It’s not widely known that every paper towel used cannot be recycled, meaning each and every one ends in landfill.
Setting the bar for hand dryer efficiency, the new ECO range from Airdri includes the Quantum hand dryer, which, costing just £7 per year to run, is the most energy efficient hand dryer available worldwide. It offers a 96% reduction in the annual outlay for electricity when compared to a standard dryer, meaning not only lower running costs, but a drastic reduction in energy consumption.
Reduce Paper Consumption
When it comes to waste reduction, everyone has a role to play. What better approach for a school to lessen its environmental impact than to go paperless? Every year, reams of paper are thrown out in schools, including heaps of misplaced printouts, excess photocopies, and letters to parents that never make it home. Modelling appropriate behaviour for students will help them to be more environmentally conscious. There are a variety of things you can do to significantly reduce your paper usage in schools including avoiding printing unless completely necessary, introduce recycling and use recycled paper and switch paper processes to online if possible. Apps such as SeeSaw and Class Charts have become hugely popular during the pandemic, allowing easy and constant communication with parents.
Solar for School Buildings
Schools are under pressure to make the most of their resources while still providing children with a good education. Investing in sustainability improvements such solar panel will save money on electricity in the long run. And schools will start to save from the moment they are installed, eventually allowing cash to be released for curricular resources or facilities. Simple energy efficiency solutions, such as solar PV panels, not only save money but also help the environment.
Solar panels have been shown to minimise a school’s carbon footprint by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted. Over the course of a year, a medium-sized solar panel system can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by several tonnes, as well as saving valuable fossil fuels and reducing air pollution from other sources of energy generation.
Water costs millions of pounds in UK schools each year, however, this can be drastically reduced with smart management. Schools that actively involve students and staff in water conservation as well as developing a clear action plan can reduce per-pupil use to roughly four cubic metres per year, saving £5,000 per year in a school of 600 students. Tips for reducing water waste can include installing eco-taps, repairing water leaks, toilet and urinal upgrades, reducing water use in food preparation and setting up action plans for all students.
Rainwater harvesting systems for schools is also an excellent way to teach children about the importance of protecting our natural resources. There are many simple methods to collect rainwater, including rainbutts. The rainwater can be used for rinsing out recyclables, washing art equipment and watering indoor and outdoor plants.
Eco-Friendly Equipment for Playgrounds
Aside from the obvious benefits of reducing your environmental footprint, outdoor sustainable playground equipment has several advantages for both the children who use it and the adults who purchase it. As well as being eco-friendly, they create a seamless look in an outdoor play environment, they’re durable and they can provide a valuable learning lesson about sustainability and encourage them to use recycled materials themselves.
Tyres can be combined to create large and little climbing, balance, and coordination activities for small children. The tyres can be moved and altered each week and they can be buried into the ground or secured in some other way. Reusing these types of materials saves money and has a positive impact on the environment in the long run.