Schools across Northern Ireland have been challenged to think about ways they can reduce, reuse and recycle all the paper and plastic they are using by participating in a “Rethink Waste” initiative facilitated by TIDY Northern Ireland’s Eco-Schools’ and Bryson Charitable Group.
This Rethink Waste funded project aims to raise young people’s awareness about the impact of paper and plastic waste on the environment, to engage their families in reducing consumption and to help participating Eco-Schools to achieve the prestigious international Green Flag status.
Forty-four schools will be asking their pupils to stop unwanted junk mail coming to their homes and providing them with reusable water bottles. The schools will also avail of workshops bursting with ideas and activities for the children to implement both in school and at home.
Four schools will participate in the Zero Waste Challenge, the project staff will work closely with the schools to conduct a baseline audit and continue to work with the schools to help them reduce waste.
Speaking at the launch of the project at Bryson Recycling Mallusk, TIDY NI’s Chief Executive Dr Ian Humphreys said: “Our children really are the future and this exciting resource saving project is giving our young people hands-on experience in how to minimise waste, reduce consumption and importantly, develop strategies that are relevant to life generally. We are delighted to again be supported by the DOE Rethink Waste and WRAP NI and to be working in close partnership with Bryson Charitable Group.”
John McMullan, Chief Executive of Bryson Charitable Group, said: “Bryson Charitable Group is delighted to be here today along with our partners to launch the next phase of this innovative Rethink Waste Education Project. This project aims to educate the youngest members of the family, who have a great influence at home, on what they and their families can do to reduce waste. It will involve activities in school with homework involving the rest of the family. Delivering the programme in a fun and interactive way will help to reinforce the very important message of reducing our waste and we at Bryson are dedicated to achieving this goal”.
Dr Ian Garner, Manager of WRAP NI, which administers the Rethink Waste Fund said: “The Eco-Schools programme gives children important hands-on experience in learning how they can play their part in helping improve and protect our environment. It encourages them to take these ideas home and teach their families. WRAP Northern Ireland is delighted that the Rethink Waste Fund is again helping to support Tidy NI and Bryson Charitable Group in getting the waste prevention message into schools across Northern Ireland.”
TIDY NI and Bryson Charitable Group have excellent relationships with schools throughout Northern Ireland and we are delighted to be able to engage with the schools in improving their resource efficiency. This new partnership enables local schools to also focus on serious environmental issues facing young people and to help to build a more sustainable future for Northern Ireland.”
Owen Lyttle from the Department of the Environment's Rethink Waste campaign said: "I am delighted that the Rethink Waste fund is supporting this worthy project through the Department's funding. Through working together and combining skills, this partnership project will deliver key messages on rethinking our approach to waste, not only among the school children involved but more broadly to their parents, neighbours and friends. Everyone can rethink their attitude to waste by checking www.rethinkwasteni.org for easy and convenient hints and tips on how to reduce, reuse and recycle in everyday life."
There are 44 Schools directly involved in this project but we would encourage all schools to look at our websites www.eco-schoolsni.org and www.brysoneducation.org as we have produced specific Key Stage 1-3 materials that are freely available for all schools to use.