Making every school greener: 9 easy ways for students to lead the change

Starting from small, everyday changes in schools, things can change for the better.

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All of us dream of change and a safer environment and the best way to go about it is to start educating the younger generations. Small yet measurable changes can happen in order to promote a greener way of living. Starting from schools, students can create small, everyday habits to help promote this cause.

These should be easy enough for every student to follow, so they are able to turn them into habits. The more these changes are talked about, the more people will imitate them. In order to help you start making your school greener, here are some simple yet effective tips to try. 

1. Hold recycling contests 

One of the best ways to motivate students to take certain matters more seriously is to turn them into a game. Competition motivates everyone to work harder towards a goal and in this case, it will be for a good cause. You can easily set this up by having a big board filled with the names of the students and their scores. There, each student will get a point for every single thing they manage to recycle at their school.

The point is to motivate them to recycle what they bring from home and also make sure no trash stays on the school grounds. By cleaning up and recycling everything they can find they will be able to compete for either a title or a price.  Choosing that is up to each classroom to decide and it will be a fun experience for everyone involved.

2. Create your own DIY recycling bins

In order to participate in recycling competitions, you will need to have a place to put all the things you recycle. A great way to motivate students to do so is to allow them to create their own recycling bins. This can turn into an ongoing project which can be a lot of fun and very effective in motivating students to recycle more. One idea is to use the recycling bins you already have in the school and let the children decorate them as they wish. 

Another idea is to take a few smaller bins and use them inside the classroom. Letting the students decorate them is what will make the biggest difference when it comes to motivating them to recycle more. After putting them together, can use additional resources such as flashcards to ensure that everyone empties the recycling bins on schedule. 

3. Start collecting indoor plants

An idea that you can use in order to make your school greener is to start collecting indoor plants in your classroom. When a student is performing well or when it’s someone’s birthday, the class can reward them with their own plant. This can be anything from a basil plant to a small cactus, as long as it is easy to take care of.

The idea behind this is to get students used to taking care of plants. Through this experience they will learn more about how to plant them and help them grow. This way, they will be motivated to keep more plants in their own houses too.

4. Use eco-friendly cleaning products

If cleaning the classroom is one of the activities you do together, it would be the perfect opportunity to start using eco-friendly products. In most cases, it would be pretty easy for you to find eco-friendly cleaning supplies at your local supermarket. You can ask for a fund from the school or even ask the students to contribute a dollar each to help with the cause. 

Another much more affordable thing you can try is to make your own cleaning supplies from household ingredients. Simple things such as vinegar and baking soda can go a long way when it comes to cleaning. Just make sure to always recycle the packaging they come in, as many of them tend to come packaged in plastic.

5. Grow your own garden

Another thing you can do along with indoor plants is to start your own mini garden. You will not need a lot of space or this; even a small patch of soil or a bigger pot can turn into a tiny garden. There, you can grow simple yet beautiful plants that will make the students interested in gardening. 

This will be the perfect opportunity to teach them about how much water goes into growing a seed into a plant. In addition, you can teach them more about fertilizers and the chemicals that can be harmful to the planet and its inhabitants. They will be sure to cherish even the smallest cherry tomato that comes out of their garden and they will learn a lot along the way. 

6. Start a composting bin

A composting bin is a great idea for any school, as it can greatly help reduce the garbage they produce after their meals. Things such as banana peels or leftover salads can all make perfect additions to the composting bin. This will teach students a lot about recycling and depending on where they live, they can motivate their parents to start one too.  

One of the things you need to make sure of is that you have enough space in the back yard of the school for the composting bin. Since they are a spot for dumping leftovers they tend to get smelly, so you need to make sure they are not in the way.

7. Install and use rain barrels

One of the things the students will come to learn through planting their own garden is that it can require quite a bit of water. This can make the situation a little more difficult as it can increase the water you use. The best alternative is to use rain barrels to water your garden whenever possible.

While this might not be applicable every month of the year, it can surely help your class cut down the water the school uses significantly. This will teach the students a valuable skill, and help them appreciate the importance of water in all its forms. 

8. Reuse last year’s supplies

One of the things most students are happy about is buying new school supplies at the beginning of every year. This is a habit that can be pretty harmful for the environment as it can produce a lot of waste. Both the packaging the school supplies come in and the ones that will be thrown away will not be helping the environment. 

In fact, many of last year’s supplies will still be good to use the next year, only to be replaced with new ones. Motivating the students to continue using the older supplies is a great idea. You can simply add a box in the classroom where all the older supplies will be kept. The students can choose which they need and the rest can be donated. This way, every supply will be used and there won’t be a lot of necessary waste.

9. Replace the school’s light bulbs

Light bulbs are something not many think about when it comes to making a classroom more eco-friendly. In reality, energy-efficient light bulbs like LEDs tend to use 25%-80% less energy than the traditional incandescent ones. 

In addition to that, energy-efficient light bulbs tend to last 3-25 times longer than the traditional ones. This means that they are not only a lot more cost-effective but they also help produce significantly less waste. This is one of the best ways to reduce energy waste and make a classroom much more environmentally friendly.

Find ways to inspire and motivate

Starting from small, everyday changes in schools, things can change for the better. Teaching students how to approach such important matters will help educate more people. In addition, these everyday actions will turn into habits that will follow them for the rest of their lives. This will help them become more responsible adults who will take care of the environment a lot more seriously. 

Which of these tips do you believe will help make your school just a little greener?

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