How to Make Green Changes at Your Kid’s School
As we all try to make changes in everyday life in order to treat our environment and world in a friendlier manner, one cannot help but think of the larger institutions that represent a much larger piece of the pollution puzzle. If you are one of those that would really like to do more to spread the eco-friendly way of thinking and would like to make a bigger difference in your area, then this article is meant to address you.
While schools are essential and prized in every community, it is no secret that they represent a great deal of waste and could very well be operated in a slightly different manner in order to lessen their negative impact on the environment. While you may not be able to make the big changes, there are little things that you can do as a parent – or just a concerned citizen – to make classrooms more “green.”
One of the best ways to make change happen is to get a larger group involved in the proposed change. Teachers are typically in constant contact with parents, so if you can convince the teachers to make a change, chances are good that more parents will become involved as well, and the teachers also provide you an avenue of direct contact with the parents. Parents have the most direct impact in how the children think and act. So, in your effort to make your school more eco-friendly, it is a good idea to give teachers and parents incentive.
Collect the Crayons Craze A new item released not that long ago by the Crayola Company is a small machine that kids can operate and that will allow them to blend old or broken crayons to create an entirely new crayon. The toy has received a lot of attention from the younger generations and also from the most environmentally friendly people out there. It can also serve as a model for an easy project to be done with school classrooms. Whether suggested as a class activity or recommended to parents when children bring home boxes of used crayons from class, making new from old is a rather simple and fun project.
You can also do this project without the Crayola product. All you will need are old crayons and an oven or toaster oven. Heat this to one hundred fifty degrees and remove the paper from crayons. The shape of the new crayons will depend on the molds you are able to find or purchase. These are usually available at craft stores, are typically priced fewer than five dollars – about the cost of two small or one large box of crayons — and are reusable. Fill each mold with broken crayon pieces or whatever color combination you would like and put them in the oven for fifteen to twenty minutes. Allow them to cool and you can begin coloring with them. It should also be noted that the Crayola Crayon Maker is priced at about twenty dollars.
Relocate the Recycling Receptacle Another great way to reduce waste in the classroom is to recycle paper. The average school uses more than seven thousand pounds of paper per year. Some classrooms in America have already started the project of recycling paper scraps, but if your school is not among those who practice this, then it might be up to you to suggest it. Invite other parents to donate old boxes and bins. The kids of the class can decorate the boxes to their liking and then scrap paper can be collected in them. Either you or the school can send that paper to be recycled. Some schools even use these scraps to teach children how to make their own recycled paper. This might be a project that could be taught in an art class and the paper that is made could be used for future art projects.
Save the Shavings Another waste product that is produced in high quantities in the classroom is wood pencil shavings. This may sound like an odd thing until one considers the number of times a pencil is sharpened in each class room. These shavings can be saved in old coffee cans or other reusable containers and brought home. They are compostable. The act of saving the shavings can also present a wonderful classroom lesson on the importance of composting. Some schools have started their own compost bins and this may also be something that could be suggested to your local school system as a way to reduce garbage sent to the landfill. The resulting fertilizer could be used on school flower beds or to teach younger children the art of growing vegetables.
These are just a few of the ways that you can stand up and make a difference in your local school system. There are many household eco-friendly practices that could be expanded upon to benefit the school and the community. Think creatively and be green!