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Schools are leading the way in environmental initiatives and are fostering a new generation of environmental leaders and champions in our communities. By providing creative learning environments that empower our youth to make positive efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle their waste, students develop a stronger connection to the environment.  Below, we have a few resources that will help your teachers inspire students to keep waste out of the landfill.

Waste Reduction 101: Riverwood Academy

When it comes to sustainability, Riverwood Academy is setting a great example for schools all over Newfoundland and Labrador. At the end of the 2018-2019 school year, the school announced they’d be eliminating single use items, and as of September 2019, disposable cutlery, paper cups and other single use items were a thing of the past.

With plenty of preparation over the summer, all 220 students got on board with the new initiative. By making just a couple of simple changes, such as bringing their own water bottles and reusable containers provided by the school as well as utilizing their own cutlery, students have managed to reduce waste on a massive scale!

Not only have the students of Riverwood Academy significantly reduced their school’s waste, but they have also become more environmentally conscious overall: they’ve started a weekly program to collect and wash recyclables, as well as plans to start an environment club to raise awareness of green practices happening around the school and in the community. Three cheers for Riverwood Academy!

2022-23 Green School Calendar

From Earth Day to World Environment Day, there are lots of opportunities to go green throughout the school year. Get a head start by adding these special occasions to your school calendar!

October 1-31, 2022
Circular Economy Month

October 17-23, 2022
Waste Reduction Week

March 18, 2023
Global Recycling Day

March 22, 2023
World Water Day

March 25, 2023
Earth Hour

April 22, 2023
Earth Day

May 7-13, 2023
Compost Awareness Week

June 5-11, 2023
Environment Week

June 5, 2023
World Environment Day

June 8, 2023
World Ocean’s Day

Tips for sustainable schools

We know how important it is to reduce, reuse and recycle at home but we can also take our daily green routine to school where teachers and students spend most of their day.

Keep in mind the order of the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse and THEN Recycle. We all have control over the choices we make – it is these daily choices that can have a profound effect on the environment. Remember, if we’re part of the problem, we can be part of the solution!

In the office

  • Use reusable intra-office envelopes.
  • Pre-print envelopes or use return address stamps.
  • Purchase supplies in bulk and choose items with less packaging.
  • Avoid purchasing supplies that do not last or cannot be repaired.
  • Email notices home to parents or post updates on your website.

In the staff room

  • Post staff memos in a centralized area or email memos to staff.
  • Collect coffee grounds and filters for composting.
  • Share resources with other teachers instead of making multiple copies.

Around school

  • Donate unwanted computer equipment to a local charity.
  • Plan a school-wide rummage sale or swap.
  • Organize a school-wide composting program.
  • Make art and technology projects out of reused material.
  • Promote the 3Rs in school with a creative mural.
  • Conduct a waste audit to find out how much waste you generate.
  • Have a “green day” at school – everyone wear’s (and thinks) green.
  • Start an environmental group at school.

In the copy room

  • Print tests and assignments double-sided.
  • Set the copier defaults to print double-sided.
  • Post directions on how to load special paper.
  • Collect and reuse office paper that is blank on one side.
  • Encourage your school to purchase recycled paper.
  • Encourage your school to buy reusable toner cartridges.
  • Set aside and reuse office supplies such as file folders or binders.

In the computer lab

  • Edit documents on screen and only print your final draft.
  • Use joint-editing software if you are working in a group.
  • Always use the print preview before printing.
  • Print documents double-sided – post a sign if you tend to forget.
  • Print in colour only when necessary.
  • Collect and reuse printer paper that is still blank on one side.
  • Recycle used ink cartridges where possible.

In the cafeteria

  • Encourage cafeteria staff to use reusable dishes and cutlery.
  • Encourage students to pack a waste-free lunch.
  • Have a school-wide waste-free lunch day once a month.
  • Place a beverage container recycling bin in your cafeteria.

In the classroom

  • Use both sides of the paper.
  • Collect scrap paper in your classroom for notes and art projects.
  • Try not to waste school supplies – use only what you need.
  • Collect recyclables in your classroom.
  • Start a class vermicompost bin.
  • Encourage parents to purchase durable school supplies.
  • Make arts and crafts projects out of recycled material.
  • Celebrate the holidays by decorating with reused items.

Think About It

  • 60% of our garbage is generated at work and school.

    Lead by example: today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders.