Pupils at Fielding Primary in West Ealing are leading the way when it comes to bright ideas about helping the school to recycle more.
A series of initiatives encouraged by a ‘pupil eco committee’ have been helping the school stay as environmentally-friendly as possible – including when it runs its regular events throughout the year, from Christmas fairs to sports days and summer fetes.
New, reusable drinks bottles branded with the school’s logo – and introducing a £1 deposit system – has so far already helped the school avoid having to use more than 1,000 plastic cups. It has proved popular with pupils, parents and teachers.
Those with the bottles now have access to unlimited squash and tap water without the need for a disposable cup. The initiative has seen a drop in the number of plastic bottles bought and left behind after events, too.
A recycling reward stall was also introduced at school events to reward pupils that helped sort rubbish into the right piles. They were given school house points, stickers and penny sweets. It also proved helpful in educating pupils on which materials could be recycled.
The school’s crafts stalls also followed its sustainable themes, upcycling t shirts intro bags and hairbands and fabric offcuts and leftovers into fabric monsters. Christmas cards were also made out of old cards and tassel keyrings.
Mary Horesh of the school’s Parent, Teacher and Friends Association (PTFA) explained: “It’s all about making small changes and steps that lead to big achievements and, so far, everyone has teamed up to help save the world one cup at a time.
“As a school we realised that our regular events were producing too much rubbish. We introduced these initiatives, which are simple but really effective to help people to change the way they think about recycling and take responsibility for their actions.
“We started with the idea of refill not landfill, ensuring that recycling is maximised, and waste was kept to the absolute minimum. Whether it was introducing our own water bottles, cutting out the need for disposable cups, or introducing rewards for pupils who recycled at the events, we worked hard to make a difference.”
The initiatives have been brilliant not only in helping the environment but teaching children about the value of recycling and minimising the rubbish that gets sent to landfill.
There are no plans to stop now, as Mary explains: “It’s been great to see pupils, in particular, being enthusiastic; and our rewards scheme for pupils who recycle during these events for example is really effective in encouraging positive behaviour.
“We are looking to see if we can reduce single use plastic bottles and tin cans in the future – of course, the best solution is to stop the waste in the first place. That’s why we’re looking at buying in soft drinks and other food and refreshments in bulk and serving them into cups from large bottles in the future – to ensure plastic and packaging is not wasted.”
The PTFA is also part of an online group with other like-minded primary schools so they can all share environmentally-friendly ideas.
Councillor Mik Sabiers, cabinet member for environment and highways said: “Full credit to everyone involved at Fielding Primary for their ongoing work to improve their recycling , cut down on waste and help pupils learn about being environmentally-friendly.
“We have a proud record of recycling here in Ealing and are currently the second best performing borough in London. We remain committed to improving our recycling rates even further and are currently working towards 60% of household waste by 2022.”