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The beginning of every academic year is the peak time of waste generation.

That’s because all the students are busy hoarding a large number of school supplies. The school cafeteria is stocked up with food, school communities and departments put up “back to school” posters, and not to forget the hustle-bustle in the school grounds.

In all this frenzy, there is an exponential increase in waste production, which pretty much continues all through the year at varying degrees. So, how should you keep this under check? Well, we have some suggestions to help you with that.

Keep reading if you want more details!

Waste At School

Schools are melting pots visited by thousands of students and teachers on a daily basis. Therefore, they naturally generate a lot of waste and need proper disposal methods in place. And the best ways to get rid of garbage can be found after identifying its types and sources.

Speaking of which, here are the typical sources that emanate waste in schools:

  • Paper waste
  • Food waste from the cafeteria
  • Food packaging and plastic water bottles
  • Electronic waste from office equipment like printers, computers, laptops, etc.
  • Leather, textile, and rubber
  • Sports equipment like used balls and racquets
  • Stationary waste like pencil shavings, eraser dust, staple pins, wasted glue, used pens etc.

Waste Management Tips For Australian Schools

Considering the high number of waste contributors, it is the need of the hour to adopt sustainable waste management practices in school. Now that we have identified the primary sources, we can discuss how to reduce waste production.

1. Reduce, Reuse, And Recycle Stationary

As soon as the school year begins, all the students get excited and bring hoards of new stationery. From new pencils to expensive ink pens and notepads to scrapbooks, everything seems fresh and new. However, the excitement soon fades and half of the supplies end up in the dustbin half-used. After all paper aeroplanes soaring high in the classroom are not a rare sight.

Thus, it is important to encourage students to use their stationary till the end and buy recycled notebooks and pencils. Instead of using cheap and single-use pens, they can invest in quality ink pens that can be refilled and used for a long time. You should teach children to be mindful of their paper usage, buy reusable items and reduce wastage.

Plus, while purchasing annual supplies, you can buy recycled paper, reusable water bottles for the cafeteria, and sustainable arts and crafts items. Recycled materials are cost-effective as well as environment-friendly and significantly help in reducing waste.

2. Segregate Dry And Wet Waste

Wet school waste is difficult to manage because of its foul odour and becomes more troublesome when mixed with the dry one. It is crucial to segregate both types of wastes into separate bins for hassle-free disposal.

Assign different coloured bins for organic waste and non-biodegradable waste, encouraging students to stick to the ground rules. For example, egg cartons would go in the dry waste bin, but leftover eggs should be put in the wet one.

3. Set Up A Compost For Food Waste Management

Half of the waste generated in the cafeteria is biodegradable and can easily be disposed of through composting. This is not only an eco-friendly practice but it will also be a learning experience for the children. You can host a composting program to draw their attention towards this practice.

It’s also advisable to invite a known environmentalist or biologist to walk the students through the whole process, breaking down every step for their understanding. They can also learn the importance of recycling waste and composting.

4. Create A Waste Management Team

The best way to encourage students for sustainable waste reduction is sensitising them towards the current environmental issues and amount of waste generation. Once they understand the gravity of the matter, they will be more forthcoming to reduce waste and manage it correctly. You can also form a school community or consult the local council for help.

For that, you can elect a waste management team among the students to look after the disposal measures, come up with innovative ways to reduce waste, organise a waste audit, etc.

5. Make The Most Of Technology

Now that everything can conveniently be done online, you can bid farewell to cumbersome paperwork and switch to digital platforms like epubs and pdfs. Teachers can accept digital presentations and soft copies of assignments and worksheets instead of printing out copies. In addition to using less paper, it will help cut the use of printer cartridges, which are major contributors to non-biodegradable waste.

6. Conduct Waste Audits

Collaborate with students and monitor the waste produced in the school weekly or fortnightly. Statistically analysing the amount of waste generated over a period of time can keep you on top of things. You’ll be able to figure out departments that are generating the most garbage and take appropriate measures for keeping it under check.

7. Donate Surplus Supplies

Every year the management buys school supplies in bulk for the students and inevitably all of them don’t get used. These old supplies can be donated to underprivileged children or charitable organisations and the same goes for cafeteria leftovers. Instead of dumping the food scraps in waste bins, you can tie up with a company that distributes them to the needy ones.

8. Hire A Waste Management Service

There’s no denying that waste reduction can get out of hand in a big institution. Therefore, you can leave the job to expert hands and rest easy by hiring a good rubbish removal company.

They usually specialize in different types of litter management including commercial waste reduction, office strip out, bathroom and garden waste removal, scrap metal and furniture cleanup. All of these services are of use in a school and can take the burden off your shoulders.

Final Words

Be it paper waste or food, waste reduction and management in a school is no child’s play. But quite ironically, children learn from their peers and can significantly reduce waste in the institution if groomed well.

Undoubtedly, the next generation will have to suffer if we don’t keep our waste under control. That said we’ll call the curtains for the day.

Until next time!

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