Reducing waste at Castle Primary School
Waste Education at Castle Primary School, Tiverton, as part of the waste education programme funded by Devon County Council.
Resource Futures conduced a full waste audit with pupils, and found that the school was sending 31640g of waste to landfill each day. Of this, the uncooked food category was the heaviest, weighing in at 8020g, 33% of the total. Despite good efforts at recycling, white paper was the second heaviest category, weighing 5800g (24% of total). This came mostly from the Foundation Stage classroom and from a few teachers who were not using the recycling bins. This was followed by cooked food, weighing 3680g (15% of total) – pupils found a lot of out-of-date food that had been cleared out.
Educating pupils and teachers
In addition to helping schools measure their waste, part of the Resource Futures’ waste audit workshop is aimed at helping the school develop an action plan to help them reduce their waste. As a result of the workshop, sustainability moved more to the heart of the school ethos and the head teacher and staff supported this with several initiatives, making composting and recycling an integral part of the school's practice and curriculum.
During the year, in addition to the waste audit, Castle Primary had two days of curriculum-linked workshops delivered by Resource Futures, enabling the children to gain deeper insights into composting and recycling. This was part of a two year rolling programme of activities which helped address the Waste doorway of the National Sustainable Schools framework. The focus of the first year was composting and for the second year it was waste and the 3R’s.
They also regularly use a forest garden area in the school grounds.
Follow on work
The School worked hard to effectively develop a vegetable growing area with raised beds which all classes could be involved with. Resource futures’ staff advised them to apply for a grant from Devon County Council which allowed them to purchase a Jora and Hotbox combination to compost fruit waste and all waste from the packed lunch hall plus a wormery for tea bags and staff room food waste. They were also able to buy a paper making kit for KS1 children to make their own paper from that found in the recycling bins.
The remaining grant money was used to cover transport costs to Newton Abbot landfill site for year 5 children. This inspired the school to maintain and monitor composting and waste reduction throughout the year. This has all helped “increase children’s knowledge about the consequences of not recycling and composting . . . and develop a waste reduction ethos across our school.” Caroline Condon (Eco Co-ordinator and teacher at school.)
The school also purchased recycling sacks so that glass, foil, plastic, tin and batteries from the staffroom and lunch hall could be collected for recycling. Waste themed books were placed in the school library to help increase children’s awareness and knowledge.
Castle Primary are an active member of the Tiverton learning community and have hosted environmentally themed workshops as part of an activity week. They have held a circus day with equipment all made from recycled items and planned to create a recycled pirate ship as part of the Tiverton carnival after the summer.