Inspired by the many schools and training centres around our area, we have decided to work towards a Green Flag for our centre.
What is a Green Flag?
Green-Schools is the Irish branch of an international environmental education programme and award scheme known as Eco-Schools. It is designed to raise students’ awareness of environmental and sustainable development issues through classroom study. Green-Schools is run by An Taisce, in conjunction with local authorities. The scheme offers a way to take environmental issues from the curriculum and apply them to the day-to-day running of the school, for example reduce litter, waste and fuel bills. This process helps students to recognise the importance of environmental issues and take them more seriously in their personal and home lives.
The Green-Schools award is given to schools that successfully complete the programme. A Green-Schools award is in the form of a Green Flag that can be flown outside the school or displayed in a foyer. Award winners also receive a certificate, a logo to display on headed notepaper and other publicity material.
Our centre has been successful in our application to register and received our Green-Schools theme booklet.
We have decided to tackle the first theme of the programme – ‘Litter and Waste’.
We have already been busy implementing some changes to the way that we deal with waste in our centre.
We started by setting up a committee of interested participants that are dedicated to the cause of recycling more waste in the centre.
EVE Estuary Recycling Committee Members
-Inform others about recycling.
-Collect recycling from each room daily.
-Organise recycling in the recycling room.
-Keep recycling room clean and tidy.
-Put recycling into the green bin.
We then looked at what we can recycle and how we can go about collecting these items from around the centre.
Items that we now recycle
White trays from the kitchen
Glass – bottles/jars
E-waste –electronic items (computers/ TV/ kettles etc.)
Over the Desk Bins
The first change that we made was the implementation of over the desk bins for all areas. As the name would suggest it removes the traditional under-desk office bin for which there is no segregation option and thus no recycling and replaces them with dedicated recycling stations in key locations around the building.
We decided to use plastic baskets, which we sourced from Recreate Ireland. We labelled each basket with information as to what can go into them, presented one to each member of staff and ask participants for their co-operation in helping us to recycled as much as we can.
We also set up a dedicated sorting area in one of our store rooms and decorated a trolley that is used by a member of the committee each day to collect the waste from the baskets around the centre. They then sort it out in the sorting area before either putting it in our green bin outside or using the materials to create something new.
We have a long history, in the Visual & Performing Art module, of creating art from recycled materials.
A break-through for our centre happened this year when we became a member of ReCreate Ireland. ReCreate Ireland is an Aladdins cave of art materials and art supplies. ReCreate takes end of line and surplus stock from businesses and reuses them as arts materials. Their warehouse is full to the brim with all types of fantastic arts materials such as paper, wool, plastics, fabric, tubing, foam and many other unusual and unexpected surprises.
This has been working out really well for us and we have loads of new art projects in the pipeline that will be created from recycled materials.
This will be a long term project for our centre and we will keep you posted about our progress along the way.