Local schools challenged to Rethink Waste

Schools across Newtownabbey are being challenged to think about ways they can reduce, reuse and recycle all the paper and plastic they are using as part of the province-wide ‘Rethink Waste’ initiative.

The WRAP-funded project, which is facilitated by TIDY Northern Ireland’s Eco-Schools and Bryson Charitable Group, 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 achieve the prestigious international Green Flag status.

A total of 42 schools across Northern Ireland 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.

Speaking at the launch of the project at Carnmoney Primary School, TIDY NI’s Chief Executive Dr Ian Humphreys said: “Eco-Schools is helping pupils, parents and teachers to actively work towards sustainable lifestyles and if last year’s success is anything to go by we can eagerly anticipate some exciting results in terms of reductions in plastic and paper consumption, further reducing dependence on our already overburdened landfill sites.”

Dr Ian Garner, Manager of WRAP Northern Ireland, which administers the Rethink Waste Fund added: “The Eco-Schools programme gives children hands-on experience in learning how they can play their part in helping improve and maintain our environment, and share these ideas when they get home.”

Mr Brian Duff, Principal of Carnmoney Primary, said the project offers his school another creative and engaging topic for study to meet the Eco-Schools award criteria.

“Carnmoney Primary has always actively promoted environmental awareness as a key element in its curriculum and it was a natural progression for the school to be part of the Rethink Waste initiative which will in turn assist the staff, pupils and wider school community to focus on the need to reduce, reuse and recycle. The school is using the resources and expertise available from this initiative to help it achieve bronze Eco-School status, with the ultimate aim being that the school is in possession of the prestigious Green Flag.”

Environment Minister Alex Attwood, whose department has provided funding towards the initiative, commended Eco-Schools and Bryson Charitable Group for their work on the Rethink Waste education project, describing it as a practical and inspiring way to help reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.

Although there are only 42 Schools directly involved in the project, organisers are encouraging all schools to log on to www.eco-schoolsni.org and www.brysoneducation.org to check out the free-to-use Key Stage 1-3 Rethink Waste learning materials.