Under the EU Waste Framework Directive, the UK is tasked with achieving a 50% recycling rate by 2020.
Although Brexit could give ministers leeway to set more lenient goals, it is unlikely to make a difference, with the resource minister recently reaffirming the government’s commitment to the 50% target.
There are around 2,500 independent schools in the UK, which educate approximately 615,000 children and, like any school, they have an important role to play if the UK is to meet its obligations under the directive.
Although there are no set government recycling targets for schools, independent or otherwise, most have accepted and embraced the need to recycle. Sustainability is, and continues to be, an upwards trend in the education sector.
However, reducing the amount of waste produced is more efficient than recycling and immediately reduces a school’s carbon footprint.
One of the ways schools can do this is by investing in a sustainable drinking water system and promoting the use of reusable as opposed to disposable bottles.
This can also help schools meet the requirements of environmental accreditations such as ISO 14001 and BREEAM.
Sustainable drinking water system
BRITA Vivreau’s ViTap water dispenser provides filtered chilled still and sparkling water and instant boiling hot water from a single tap – no more waiting for the kettle to boil! A safety system also prevents hot water being dispensed by accident.
This system allows students and staff to refill reusable bottles using ViTaps positioned in convenient locations such as vending areas, corridors, canteens and staff rooms. This reduces packaging waste and transport miles by eliminating the need to order, deliver, store and recycle pre-bottled water.
The ViTap boasts a touch sensor control for easy operation, a ‘zero-splash’ feature and a modern, stylish, chrome finish.
Providing easily accessible drinking water will also encourage students and staff to drink more, improving hydration which will enhance mental performance and wellbeing, benefiting teaching standards and ultimately grades.
Sustainability in education can be fun too! We’ve all seen the Fairy Liquid advert, where a youngster waits impatiently for the bottle to be empty in order to turn it into a rocket. What other reusable products can you have fun with in class? BRITA Vivreau presents its top 10:
1. Toilet rolls: Save and use to make trains or racing cars. Then have a competition!
2. Magazines: Collect and tear out individual pages and roll them up tightly. Then bind them together with string to create spiders!
3. Plastic milk jugs: Cut in half and attach balls or pom-poms using string, which students can toss up and catch. Simple fun!
4. Empty tissue boxes: Create ‘shoes’ by extending the holes in the top and threading shoelaces through. Students can paint or decorate these to their hearts’ desire!
5. Tin cans: Paint and decorate with glitter, then punch holes in the bottoms and use washers and string to make wind chimes.
6. Egg cartons: Cut into individual sections, slit these in four places and bend outwards to create petals. Decorate these and glue onto cardboard to create flower displays.
7. Newspapers: Bring geometry to life by tightly rolling pages into thin rods and using them to build 3D shapes.
8. Cereal boxes: Cut the fronts into pieces to make jigsaw puzzles and trim the sides to make bookmarks.
9. Paper tubes: Ask children to collect the tubes from wrapping paper and wallpaper and use duct tape to fasten them together to make a marble run (or toy car run).
10. Plastic bags: Cut into squares and use string to make parachutes for toys or action figures.