Reduce your environmental impact

Every little thing your school or centre does to reduce the environmental impact will add up to larger change. Almost more importantly than that is that you will be setting an example and normalising sustainable behaviour. This is important for supporting the sustainability education in the classroom and showing students that it is easy and simple to do.

Plant in jar



Carry out a waste audit and reduction checklist (PDF 394 KB) to find out how you are doing and what you can improve on. You can only manage something once you have started measuring it! Check out our resources on doing your own waste audit.



The best way to manage our waste is not to produce it in the first place! Cutting down on throw-away products and buying only what we need prevents unnecessary waste. Reducing your waste is much better option environmentally and financially than recycling or any other waste disposal.

  • Go paperless - use digital systems to reduce the amount of printing required.
  • Print double sided



Reusing, refilling, repairing or refurbishing things will extend their life and reduce the need to buy new stuff.

  • Encourage students to use reusable bottles for drinks. This can easily be done by installing water fountains around the school.
  • Printer cartridges: you can get your old cartridges refilled and use them again.
  • Stationery: reuse old envelopes for internal mail or by sticking a new label over the previous address. The same can be done for old paper or plastic folders.
  • Furniture: repair or repaint items of furniture to prolong their life.



Recycling keeps waste out of landfill and can save your school money on rubbish collections. The types of materials that can be recycled and the cost savings to the school will depend on your local council or other waste services provider.

  • Purchase materials with the end of life in mind. For example buy products in recyclable packaging.
  • Make it easy to recycle by placing recycling bins in sensible areas, such as next to printers and photocopiers, classrooms and in the staff room
  • Have clear signage for what goes into each bin. 


Swap and give away

Could someone else use your unwanted items? Why not donate them to a local charity shop, advertise on Freecycle or exchange them. Make it easy for students and their families to swap, donate and exchange second hand uniforms. This could be by hosting a clothing swap event or setting up a donation station at school.



Try to get as much back to the earth as you can by things like:

  • Collecting food scraps from lunches and the cafeteria for composting or feeding animals.
  • Set up a compost or worm farm to manage your school's organic waste. This can be incorporated into the Education for Sustainability that you run in class.