To protect the planet for future generations we need to ingrain good healthy habits in our children from a young age. Getting greener at school is one way to do this.
Normalising secondhand uniforms and gifts, reusing costumes, thinking outside the box for presents and party bags, limiting and even eliminating, single-use plastics go a long way to fighting climate change.
Try adopting some of these practices with your children, schools and PTAs to get greener at school.
Kitting the kids out
Up to 1.4 million wearable school uniforms are thrown away each year. And around £52 billion is spent buying new uniforms. Buying and wearing secondhand uniforms decreases the environmental impact of the original piece of clothing by reusing it and prevents unwanted or outgrown items from ending up in landfill.
Along with fast-growing children, we know there are stubborn stains and holes through the knees to contend with too. The Hub runs regular mending clinics so by making repairs the uniform will go as far as possible.
Your PTA may offer secondhand uniform for sale. Contact them to find out.
Ask friends and family if they are passing down items that will fit your children.
Uniformd is also an online place for buying and selling secondhand uniform.
Embrace secondhand uniform and with the Pencil Case Resistance prevent 350 tonnes of plastic ending up in landfill every year.
World book day and themed days
From World Book Day, Christmas jumper day, Greek or Roman day, plays and performances, Superhero day, Children in Need the list of opportunities to have a themed dress-up day at school is endless and has most parents reaching for Amazon Prime pronto.
Your PTA may have secondhand costumes to sell on, local facebook groups may offer a buy, rent or swap scheme – especially for World Book Day. Can you borrow from friends and family or rely on hand-me-downs from an older sibling or friend?
The global fashion industry releases more greenhouse gases than the maritime and aviation industries combined. To wear an item once and throw it away no longer makes sense for the planet. Reusing these items, buying secondhand or making your own by recycling unwanted clothing are great moves to reduce the impact of dress-up costumes. There are a wealth of ideas on the internet to help you get greener at school when it comes to a dress-up day.
Getting greener on the school run
There it is: twice a day, five days a week, 10 journeys. The kids need to go and often we need to take them. So how can you get greener on the school run?
Walk, scoot or cycle
The best thing of all is cutting down the number of journeys we make in our cars, reducing carbon emissions. Walking to and from school is the best way to do this. It’s healthier for the planet, but also for us. Walking every day has proven health benefits and improves air quality for everyone, but especially children attending school.
There are even national campaigns, like Walk to school week, encouraging this very activity.
For secondary children, making their way to and from school is preparation for adulthood and making their way to work or meetings.
Scooting and cycling are also great ways to travel to school and many kids enjoy it too. Why wait till the weekend to get the scooters or bikes out? Adult scooters are widely available and you can often spot a pre-owned bargain for scooters and bikes for adults and children alike.
The Hub run introduction to cycling events for those who are not feeling confident about starting as well as regular puncture repair workshops.
Park and stride
The halfway house. Reducing carbon emissions by taking a shorter journey in the car. Still getting some of the healthy benefits of walking and improving air quality in the immediate vicinity of the school. Perhaps this could be where you start, working up to walk the whole way to school.
Switch off when you drop off
If you do find yourself using the car, don’t leave your engine running while you are waiting. For each minute idling engines (leaving your car engine running while you are stopped) in a small car release 19.13g CO2 and 21.49g for a 4×4/SUV sized vehicles. That’s enough to fill 150 balloons – every minute. So when your handbrake goes on, the engine goes off.
Greener and Cleaner youth outreach team
You and your school can utilise the extensive skills of our dedicated youth outreach team. Prioritising partnering with schools and youth organisations, as education is at the root of change, they have endless ideas and can supplement learning with interesting and engaging workshops or resources. They also support students, members of school councils or school eco warriors. Contact us to discuss your requirements or connect us with your school.
Thames Water run an Eco-Schools programme engaging 19.5 million children across 67 countries with pupils, teachers and parents working to achieve their Eco-Schools Green Flag. Read more here. They also have a large section on educational resources suitable for a wide range of purposes and ages, including adults.
Southern Water have a great educational pack for children aged 7-11 on their website too.
Let’s go Zero
Bringing schools together to publicly declare they want to be zero carbon by 2030, this aspirational campaign is a coalition asking the UK government to enable schools in the UK to take more action on this issue.
Well supported with resources and ideas it’s worth looking into if you’re part of a school looking to start making changes. Visit letsgozero.org for more information.