Reducing Waste in Schools

Graphic image of a school and children putting rubbish into recycling bins.

Reducing Waste in Schools

In the current climate, it’s more important than ever to understand the importance of recycling and minimising waste to reduce your carbon footprint. With the help of the education sector, the impact towards positive change to reduce the amount of waste in Essex could be profound.

Did you know that the average primary school produces 45 kg of waste per student each academic year? Furthermore, up to 78% of this waste could easily be recycled or composted.

We have prepared this guide to help show you some simple steps that can help to minimise the amount of waste in schools, contributing to making the world a healthier place to live for our future generations.

Minimise Paper Waste

The best way to reduce the amount of paper waste in Essex would be to use less paper initially. All staff and students should consider whether their document actually needs to be printed, or if it could be replaced with a digital copy. In addition, newsletters or notes to parents could also be sent via email rather than getting lost in the child’s school bag! If printing is necessary, then printing on both sides of the paper should be encouraged to reduce the number of sheets being used.

It is also crucial to note that the majority of paper can be recycled. A significant amount of paper would not be sent to landfill if it was to be recycled in the classroom. Alternatively, if only one side of the paper has been used, then the other side could be re-used for notes or lists with the use of a designated drawer for scrap paper.

Have a Composting Scheme

Composting is a fun way to learn more about nature and micro-organisms, whilst also reducing the amount of organic waste that the school sends to landfill. In addition, the students can see how their waste helps the environment as the finalised compost can be used on the school’s grounds.

Reduce Plastics

One of the most common forms of wasted plastic are single-use water bottles. To tackle this, reusable water bottles should be used to keep hydrated throughout the day. In addition, plastic straws and cutlery could also be replaced with reusable metal versions. Sandwich bags similarly contribute towards the amount of waste in schools, but these could easily be substituted with recycled paper bags. Another way would be to use large bottles of sauce, rather than the individual sachets. These simple methods would considerably lessen the amount of plastic waste in Essex.

Repurpose Packaging

Some types of packaging could be repurposed to create new things, which is a great way to be creative as well as save money for the school! Art projects for your class enable your students to be imaginative as well as reduce the amount of waste that the school produces. For example, plastic water bottles could be converted into pencil holders or made into musical instruments, or egg cartons and yoghurt pots could be transformed into robots! Let your imagination go wild!

Donate Unwanted Items 

If your child has outgrown their school uniform, instead of disposing it, you could donate it to your local charity shop or school swap shop! This is a fantastic and easy way to help families save money as well as help the local community. Donating books to other parents, a library or other local organisation is an alternative way to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill in Essex.

Get in Touch with Us

If you would like to find out more about how we support the local schools with their waste management solutions and minimise the amount of waste in Essex, then please contact us today! Call us on 01279 311440 or email us at