By now, most area schools are resuming in-person classes and after-school activities. Take advantage of this transition at your school to reinforce current policies and implement new ideas that will increase your environmental impact. Here are 10 ideas you can readily adopt!
Tip #1: Educate your students about the importance of recycling
This may sound basic, but don’t underestimate the importance of recycling education. Why do you have recycling bins for paper waste in the classrooms and hallways? Why do you have recycling bins in the lunchroom for plastics and paper products? Take a few weeks to collect data on how much paper, cardboard, plastic etc. is recycled in your school every week and help students grasp how far those recyclables will go towards creating new products. Get students involved in the conversation and ask them what other items your school could recycle in the future.
Tip #2: Discourage idling in the drop-off and pick-up lane
The drop-off and pick-up lane is often the bane of a parent’s day. But how many parents have considered the impact of letting their engines run and how it affects air quality around the school? Idling vehicles emit carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and VOCs. Put up a sign that discourages idling, at least during the warmer months of the year.
Tip #3: Order spirit wear created from sustainable fabrics
At some point during the school year most schools sell spirit wear. Search for a local vendor, if possible, that prints on sustainable fabrics like bamboo apparel or clothing made from recycled plastic bottles. Encourage sports teams to order clothing from sustainable sources to further your school’s impact!
Tip #4: Encourage students to use eco-friendly containers at school
How much plastic wrap and aluminum foil and how many plastic bags end up in the trash after lunch every day? Educate students about the impact and importance of reusable containers in helping reduce landfill waste. Send an email to parents encouraging them to switch to reusable containers for their child’s lunch and any snacks they send along to school each day.
Tip #5: Create a school garden
If you don’t have one already, this can be a fun initiative and a great opportunity for kids to experience the excitement of growing their own food. Form a school garden club and allow students to plant potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and other easy-to-grow veggies that they can then donate to the school for hot lunch or donate to the local food bank.
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Tip #6: Compost food waste
Schools generate A LOT of food and organic materials waste and composting can be an excellent way to minimize that. Explain to kids what can and can’t be composted and keep a compost bin out at each lunch period throughout the school day. Turn composting into a science lesson and talk about how the process works and how it creates nutrient-dense soil that can be used in the school garden.
Hennepin County is advocating for an organics recycling program in their schools and has the staff and funds to help area schools make this transition. Learn more here!
In Ramsey and Washington Counties, Minnesota Waste Wise through its Biz Recycling program helps educate and train businesses on the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling waste. They help companies find new ways to control waste costs and fund recycling program improvements.
Tip #7: Plant trees for Earth Day
Take time to teach students about all the ways trees benefit our health and our planet. Then celebrate Earth Day at your school on April 22nd by giving each child a small tree they can take home and plant. Turn this lesson into an art project or make photo collages of students planting their trees and hang them up around the school. Remind each student that, just like one tree purifies the air and becomes a home for many birds and other small creatures, each one of them can make a sizable impact on the environment.
Tip #8: Host a school rummage sale
One great way to raise money for your school while also reducing landfill waste is by hosting a rummage sale. Notify families about the sale a few weeks in advance to give them the opportunity to clean out their closets and drawers. Then sort and organize clothes and ask for monetary donations in exchange for “shopping” your sale. Consider putting proceeds towards other “green” initiatives at your school. Spring is a great time of year to do this since many people are already in spring-cleaning mode!
Tip #9: Purchase electronics through Tech Discounts
If you’re in the market to purchase computers or other electronics for your school, consider purchasing from our retail brand, Tech Discounts. Tech Discounts minimizes the environmental impact by promoting reuse before recycling, with a wide variety of manufacturers including Sony, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, and Apple. We sell quality laptops, desktops, monitors and phones among other electronic equipment. Visit our website to learn more!
Tip #10: Work with Tech Dump for your ITAD needs
Just like any business today, schools utilize a ton of electronics! When they reach the end of their lives, what plan do you have in place to discard them? One of the best ways your school can make an environmental impact is by securing an ITAD (IT asset disposition) vendor to manage your end-of-life assets. Tech Dump can help you determine which parts can be recycled or given another life and refurbished into new products. And keep in mind that, the longer IT assets sit in storage, the less likely it is that they can be refurbished and reused in the future.
Reach out to us at 612.361.4355 to learn more about our ITAD services!