Creating an Environmentally Friendly Classroom
School is back! We hope everyone enjoyed a little bit of time off.
Here at Container Deposit Systems, we have noticed a large amount of schools getting on board with recycling, and especially with 10c deposit collection. It is important we teach the younger generations of the world how they can contribute to recycling and saving the planet. We throw away recyclable waste both at school and home and it is important to reduce, reuse and recycle. If we educate students on what they can turn from trash to treasure, we can reduce our carbon footprint and promote sustainability.
All these ideas can start small and flourish into big change. Schools reported that by implementing sustainable practices within the classroom, students showed an 83% increase in showing care towards the environment and 90% reported increased skills in students, including increased interest in saving water, increased social skills from working together, feeling empowered from helping the environment and academic skills such as critical thinking and problem solving.
How can we do this? We have created a list below of some easy tasks and ideas on how to bring sustainability into the classroom. Just one step at a time can create a world of change!
Make a 10c deposit bin
This can be within your classroom or encourage the whole school to get involved. If the school has a canteen that sells drinks that are in 10c eligible containers, then providing bins for students to dispose of them in is a great start. The money could go towards funding end of year class parties or class fun days. Or many schools have a chosen charity, sponsor child or animal which they can donate the funds towards as well.
Create an Enviro-Team
Ask a group of students to put their hands up and volunteer to be the Enviro-Team for the classroom. They can be on the lookout for when recycling needs to be done, take the food scraps to the compost bin or recycling out to the main recycling bin the school has. This means the teacher doesn’t need to add extra work to their load and the students can feel a sense of accomplishment in changing the world.
Paper Recycling Bin
While classrooms have more technology than ever, there is still plenty of paper used! Art and craft or printing draft assignments- there still needs to be a place to correctly dispose of the unwanted paper. Paper recycling bins can be purchased, or to upcycle, use an old box or a container for students to dispose of their paper in. Even having the Enviro-Team take out the paper bin to the school’s main recycling bin at the end of each week to make sure it all gets recycled!
Host an activity day or an ongoing project where students come up with ideas on how to turn trash into treasure! There are so many ways to upcycle that are also beneficial to the classroom. Using old tins and decorating the outside of them and turning them into stilts or a pencil tin it is a great way to contribute to the classroom. Empty yoghurt containers can be rinsed and use to grow herbs and other small plants- which would also be great for a science project! School veggies patches are so extremely popular and if there is the opportunity to upcycle, the students could make a scarecrow to keep the veggie patch protected.
Environmentally Friendly Lunch Packing
Encouraging students to pack their lunches in containers or reusable packaging is a great way to start them thinking about being environmentally conscious from school to home. While not all students pack their lunches and some buy from the canteen, encouraging the canteen to use biodegradable or recyclable bags or cutlery for their food where possible is another great move! For example, brown paper bags are compostable, or now there is plenty of takeaway food containers for purchase that are compostable too. Using wooden cutlery for students if necessary is also another step in the right direction.
This one you can get the whole school involved with! If there is an area you can dedicate to a compost bin, it is a great place to start. Compost bins are sold at your local hardware store and then start adding your compostable items! This includes food scraps, paper towels, tea bags, brown paper bags. Just remember to keep your compost moist to support the breakdown process, or pop in some worms to help break it down even more.
This is the perfect opportunity to tie this in with the teaching curriculum and could be a fantastic term project for the class which many things can stem from. The students would be able to research and discover so much about the environment, sustainability and why it is so important. Once they have some information, they may become passionate and want to help with sustainability in the school more. 
Container Deposit Systems brings decades of experience in the operation and management of beverage container recycling. CDS has an unparalleled track record of success in the areas of design, engineering, manufacturing, and automation. Container Deposit Systems works with current and prospective operators of recycling facilities seeking to grow businesses that set best practices in the industry.