Description of our project "Garbage Separation "as a part of the ecological audit
In February this year I began exploring with class 4 the subject of garbage. The threatening pollution in general but also in particular caused concern amongst the children. They asked: What can we do in order to produce as little garbage as necessary and how can we extract valuable materials and put them to recycling in order to preserve raw materials.
My class has for one week now separated the garbage it has collected. This led to the following results which even the children found quite surprising.Paper and cardbord accounted for approx. 55 %, small packaging materials accounted for approx. 25 %, glass approx. 7 %,and othermaterials for approx. 13 %.
Consequently, 87 % of our garbage consisted of materials that could be put to further use or could be recycled. Our target therefore was to separate garbage in all classrooms in future in order to make sure that recycable materials were indeed put to the recycling process. My pupils adressed an application to the Minister of the Environment, requesting to provide containers for garbage separation for their classes as well as for the rest of the school.
The Environmental Authorities reacted promptly. Six weeks later, after the Easter Holidays containers were already available. Our building contains not only the Primary School but also the Greek National School with six classes. This meant that the project also had to be explained to our Greek colleagues, who had to be convinced of as well of the advantages since garbage in both schools is collected and picked up collectively.
I called a joint teacher conference with both Greek and German colleagues and described the progress of the project, I also showed the video - by courtesy of AWISTA - "Value of Raw Materials" which describes in a convincing way how waste paper, light packaging materials and glass are transformed and turn to to become a new products. I also showed them the new garbage containers and how we teach pupils from the first schoolyear to separate different materials. Since present cleaning staff could not be burdened with the cleaning of the new containers, the children of the individual classes had to do this on their own. This organisational problem was resolved by extending duty functions. Our project is running since April and with great success. The children learn from the very first class to separate garbage in an environmentally friendly manner, an experience which they will also carry home and present to their parents.
Our schoolyard has become much cleaner since because our pupils have been made aware of the importance of enviromental issues.
The volume of non-recycable garbage has been reduced from 2200 l per week to 660 l. Consequently, the Municipal Authorities are saving approx. thwo thirds of the original garbage bill of EUR 11.400,0-- a reduction of approx. EUR 8.000,--. Half of this saving of approx EUR 8.000,-- will go to the benefit of the ecological audit of the school. The Greek School will benefit in that we will acquire new toys. Our school has since then become an example of proper environmental behaviour.
We don't just talk, we act.