The children of today will be the architects and thought leaders of tomorrow, therefore it is imperative for us, as their mentors and teachers, to set the example of being more environmentally conscious and responsible. We need to practice what we preach by implementing an environmentally conscious and friendly zone. Schools allow children to share life experiences and lessons while learning the values they will carry with them for a lifetime.
None of us were born knowing how to live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle keeping the planet and its natural resources in mind – the education around this is only applied later in life. Implementing an environmentally friendly and conscious drive in your school will take time and consistent practice. You can start by reducing energy usage, water usage, waste, and pollution in your everyday actions and soon you can calculate the savings your actions are creating and set aside that money for upgrades and improvements to facilities and technology.
Did you know that Earth Day is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world, with more than one billion participants each year in 192 countries? People march, sign petitions, meet with their elected officials, plant trees, clean up their towns and roads and corporations and governments use it to make pledges and announce sustainability measures. Consider joining the Green Schools Alliance. Their mission is to connect and empower schools worldwide to lead the transformation to a sustainable future. Anyone can join the Green Schools Alliance, but you don't need to be a part of a formal program to implement environmentally friendly practices in your school.
What your school can do to save money and reduce the impact it has on the environment by being greener.
1. Be Cartridge Wise
97% of materials used to make printer cartridges, are recyclable. Businesses and individuals throw away about one million print cartridges every day. Some MPS service vendors can buy back used print cartridges and replace them with re-manufactured/recycled ones that cost half the price of a new original branded cartridge. XL Cartridges are not physically larger than their standard capacity counterparts; they have simply been filled completely. Purchasing these cartridges will give you cheaper running costs and fewer waste cartridges being generated. Black ink is cheaper, but it also prints more copies than colour.
2. Consider Green Cleaning
Buy or make eco-friendly alternatives by using household items such as vinegar and baking soda. his is a fun and effective science project you can incorporate into your curriculum each year. Cleaning supplies, pesticides, paints and even chemical fertilizers threaten children’s health and contain harsh chemicals that are toxic to cleaning and maintenance staff.
3. Be Paper & Print Wise
Be aware of paper usage and ways in which you can reduce the amount of paper you use monthly. Print on both sides of every sheet of paper. As a result, this allows you to print on less paper. Draft mode printing significantly reduces the amount of ink used, prints quicker and reduces the frequency of ink replacement. Not throwing away paper that has only been printed on one side can drastically reduce paper wastage. Encourage students to use paper from a recycled paper bin before using a new piece of paper. Less resources are used to produce recycled paper including trees, energy and water. Less material is being used for every page you print when using less than 80gsm paper, making it a simple and great way to reduce your energy usage significantly as well as ink/toner costs.
4. Get Green Thumbs
Students can learn about recycling food waste within their school and home by having a garden and composting program. This is a wonderful way of ensuring that students get nutritious and fresh produce incorporated into their daily diets and students learn where food comes from as well as leadership, teamwork and responsibility skills.
5. Be Document Wise
Be wary of how documents are set up as this impacts the print costs. Individual sheets of paper fit more text when widening the margins. Times New Roman and 10 point text size uses less ink and helps you print fewer overall pages. To avoid making unnecessary prints, proof read your documents.
6. Go Green Transport
Another effective way students and parents can help cut down on fuel emissions polluting our air and saving everyone time and money is by starting lift clubs. Not only will you conserve energy and make friends within your school community, but also be more effective and efficient. For those students who are close enough to the school, encourage them to travel in groups when biking or walking to ensuring their safety in numbers.
7. Be Energy Efficient
With some print machines using as little as one watt in standby mode, with the ability to operate from standby to print-ready within five seconds, energy saving without printing delays can become a reality. Each time your printer receives a print request it runs a small initiation process where it needs to warm up before it can start printing. By sending all your requests at once, the number of times the printer must run a start-up cycle is limited, which will save energy. Placing devices on standby mode is a simple strategy to limit energy consumption. When you know devices are not in demand, turn them off and fully rid yourself of wasted electricity.
8. Be Water Wise
Maintaining school sports grounds can be costly and uses large amounts of water, and though beautiful green grass might be great for running and playing on, it certainly is not so attractive when the water and maintenance bill gets tallied up at the end of the financial year. Collecting rainwater in a screened water tank container that then feeds your irrigation system to keep those sport fields looking top notch, can save you tons of money.
9. Implement Printing Software
Control who has access and permission to print as well as track who prints what, when and where. By releasing printing jobs via a secure login on the embedded devices allows for tracking users, identifying print jobs, managing the supply chains, reducing spending and wastage.
10. Make Smart Signs
Constant reminders of wastage are a good way to make students as well as staff aware of green activities. Putting up laminated signs in key areas such as classrooms, bathrooms, hallways, lunchrooms and offices, reminding students and teachers to turn off lights when they are not using them, save water when washing their hands, unplug devices not in use, and switch off aircons/heaters/fans and ventilation systems when leaving the room are effective ways of cutting energy and water consumption/wastage.
Paperless workflows can reduce your need to print paper documents. Wherever possible communicating via email can save loads of paper and ink being wasted through unnecessary printing documents. The vast majority of printing jobs can be bypassed through the thoughtful implementation of technology. School website where students and parents can view all information relating to events and announcements at any time, eliminates the need for printing. Reminders and follow up emails will aid in getting information out quicker.
12. Recycle & Up-cycle
Recycle items that would have otherwise ended up in the trash at home and find interesting ways of up-cycling the items into usable, artistic or functional tools/equipment within the classroom such as storage containers for stationary. Students to dispose of glass, plastic, paper and wet waste in the appropriate way helps them to be more conscious of where it ends up and more mindful when throwing things away.
13. Going Green
Think green in every aspect of teaching and operating in a school environment. Great ways of purifying the air and reducing stress are adding plants to the classroom and opening windows. Switching off the heating or cooling units are an effective way of adding green to your classroom. Have students lunches packed in stack-able reusable containers instead of plastic and paper as they are unnecessary trash being added to landfills.
Click on the below tab to download our Infographic on Top Tips to "Greenify" your School.