Greening your school carries a wealth of benefits; not only do you educate
your students about the environment, why we should preserve it and how
to do so, but creating a green school makes for a healthier school environment
and saves on costs. Spending less on utility bills and materials will
mean more money for cash-strapped schools.
Dealing with waste
Recycling can help to reduce the amount of waste that your school sends
to the landfill. When you recycle large volumes of paper, glass and cans,
you can get paid for your recycling efforts. Adding another source of
income to your coffers while reducing your waste is an excellent way to go green.
Compost your vegetable waste and create a valuable resource for your own
gardens. You can also provide parents with compost or donate compost to
your local community garden.
Make your school as paper-free as possible and print on both sides when
you need to make hard copies. Switching to electronics like tablets will
carry high initial costs, but you will have an excellent return on investment
as you will not have to buy books or print out notes.
Turn out lights when you are not using a room. Use motion-sensitive lights
at night rather than leaving lights on for security reasons and try to
reduce energy and water consumption wherever possible.
This is a great way to get a source of locally grown, carbon footprint-free
food. If you avoid pesticides and use the compost you create from your
vegetable waste, you can grow organic fruits and vegetables too. Community
gardening can really teach students about healthy eating, nutrition and
the biology of flora. They will be more enthusiastic about eating salads
and vegetables if they have grown the produce themselves.
Use vinegar and water to clean windows and other surfaces. Vinegar is a
great antibacterial and can be used to create great cleaning products
here) that are healthier too. When you use chemical cleaning products, they
leave a residue which then releases harmful toxic fumes and makes your
school’s indoor air unhealthy for students.
Use rain barrels on downspouts to collect valuable rain water which can
then be used for cleaning and in your gardens. Reservoirs on rooftops
can be utilized for flushing toilets too.
Ask students to opt for greener ways to get to school like walking or riding
bikes. This will also help you to get your students moving. In inclement
weather or for students who live far away, the bus, train or carpooling
will help to reduce the carbon footprint of their commute.
Green your scene
Plant trees to mitigate carbon footprints, put plants inside classrooms
to improve the air quality and create large outdoor gardens. When making
a garden, use indigenous varieties of plants that are accustomed to the
local conditions and require little additional care or watering. Avoid
lawns by using lawn alternatives. These lawn alternatives will reduce
the carbon footprint of moving and reduce the need for watering while
providing lush, green ground covering. See a list of lawn alternatives