Green Schools Teach Children the Importance of Sustainable Living

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Green schools emphasize the importance of sustainable practices, and students are involved in different activities and initiatives. Children are taught good practices such as sustainable transportation, energy and water conservation, and waste reduction.

A Green Classroom and Zero-Waste Lunches

There are many ways to green your classroom. One is to place separate waste bins for cans, bottles, landfills, paper, and compost. Students take turns and have jobs such as recycling and composting. They are also encouraged to bring zero-waste lunches. Many parents and students pack food in wax paper, aluminum foil, and plastic bags, with fruits, vegetables, and sandwiches packed or sealed in single-use plastic bags. To reduce waste, students are encouraged to use reusable lunchboxes and drink containers, stainless steel spoons and forks, and cloth napkins.

Energy and Water Conservation

A green school also has signs that remind students to turn off equipment, including printers, computers, and lights.

Some schools use posters to remind students to turn off appliances, monitors, and other equipment. Energy conservation also involves the use of renewable resources and energy-saving systems and equipment. Other schools use ground source heat pumps that are up to 50 percent more efficient than conventional cooling and heating sources. Some schools have installed solar hot water systems for additional energy savings. They also help reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Electricity accounts for close to 50 percent of the electric bill. One way to reduce the bill is to make the most of natural lighting in areas that permit it. Another option is to use energy-saving bulbs in areas that require artificial lighting. Some schools also use light-emitting diode bulbs and fluorescent bulbs. Auto on/off technologies are also used to cut the electricity bill. Networked computer equipment helps reduce the bill and so do multiple light switches. Finally, many schools use Energy Star appliances, copiers, monitors, and computers.

Waste Reduction

Waste reduction focuses on practices that reduce land, air, and water pollution, including recycling and reuse of products. Waste management helps conserve fossil fuels, metals, water, wood, and other natural resources. Moreover, good practices save energy and reduce expenses for disposal and transportation. There are practices that are successfully implemented in many schools. For example, cans, plastics, glass, and paper are separated for recycling. Computers, cell phones, and batteries can be recycled as well. Sorting waste requires the appropriate clothing and equipment, including buckets, plastic tarps, scales, gloves, and clipboards. Recycling bins can be located in the cafeteria, computer lab, library, faculty room, playground, kitchen, or classrooms. Waste assessment forms are also used. Information such as collection frequency, number of containers, container size, garbage hauler, and number of classrooms, faculty, and students is filled in. The types of materials that are collected for recycling vary – toner cartridges, textiles, electronics, yard waste, plastics, etc. Newspapers, aluminum cans, glass, and plastic bottles are also collected for recycling. The recyclables are collected by the students, a recycling club, or a custodian, depending on the type of recycling program. There are different waste reduction programs in place, including mobile and statutory collection centers, continually operating programs, periodic reuse and one-time programs, sponsored waste reduction programs, and others. Some schools also organize community yard sales and use the proceeds for group and school activities and initiatives. Others participate in take-back programs. Whether a recycling program is suitable depends on many factors. For example, if a glass recycling program is implemented in an elementary school, glass should be handled by staff and faculty and not students. The school’s budget is another consideration that plays a role.

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