Inspiring a sustainable future
The early years of a child’s education are so important in developing a sense of awareness of their environment. As well as experiencing nature, playing outdoors, finding bugs, climbing trees, and jumping in muddy puddles…it is also a time when children, through their primary school education, begin to focus on creative thinking, problem solving and developing critical thinking skills.
The Waste Wise Kids programme is aimed at school children aged from four to 12 years old. Our aim is to support primary schools in educating young children about waste, recycling and sustainability, to give children the knowledge and understanding needed to actively reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.
Building life long skills
We start with teaching children about the different waste types, what happens to waste after it is disposed of, and where it could end up if it’s not managed correctly. We promote a behavioural change to stop, think and act using the ‘reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle’ waste hierarchy approach. As a result, we hope that children build a life-long skill which will have a positive impact on the environment’s future. Waste Wise Kids has the ability to connect the classroom to the wider community as children use their knowledge to show their family and friends practical ways to manage waste at a domestic level.
Make a conscious effort to make less waste, don’t buy things you don’t need, or items that are single use. Question; ‘Do I really need that?’ ‘Can it be recycled or just used once?’ ‘Is there a take-back scheme?’
Can old toys, clothing and books be reused at home by siblings? At a friend’s house? Or at a local school, playgroup, or hospital? Re-gift your items and be part of the sharing community! If the item is broken, it is often cheaper to repair than it is to buy new, so donate to organisations in need where you can.
This is where imaginations can run wild and we teach the next generation that repurposing is cool! You only have to look on Google, YouTube and Pinterest for thousands of ideas – Old T-shirts become tote bags, wellington boots transform into colourful plant holders, you can even make a toy car garage out of old kitchen and toilet rolls! Check out our WWKids Club page for lots of repurposing ideas!
Recycling education is paramount to ensure our children understand the importance of recycling and to changing behaviours. This starts at home and at school. Waste Wise Kids aims to teach children how to segregate waste, and to understand why it is so important, by showing them the journey of waste. Where does it go after it has left the house?
Landfill is not a sustainable solution
This is the final disposal solution, but it is not sustainable. We explain visually what landfill is and give children a sense of scale as to how big these are. For example: ‘247 football pitches’ is the largest one. There are not many landfill sites left – once they are full, they close and we don’t have enough space on earth to create more. Toxins such as arsenic, mercury, PVC, solvents, acids, cadmium, and lead leach into our soil and groundwater becoming an environmental hazard, leachate pollutes the land, ground water and waterways, and greenhouses gases are created from burying food waste with huge implications for climate change.
Introducing Jeff the Rubbish Robot
As part of our activity, children enter into a competition to create their own waste robot made entirely from items that you would normally throw away at home! The competition aims to inspire the children to make positive choices about waste and show them that many items can be repurposed. It also demonstrates the value of being imaginative and creative to create something new out of something old.