As part of an initiative to reduce waste at our school and create more environmentally conscious students, we are taking steps to become more sustainable! We are really excited about this. We know that many of you already do things at home to help protect the environment, and we’re so glad.
When we bring dozens of kids together to learn, play, and grow, it’s very easy to create a lot of waste to make everything more convenient. However, we at UCA want our students to grow up with a sense of global responsibility and a respect for their beautiful natural environment.
For weeks, we’ve been working on our NEW Sustainability Initiative! At school, we’re using less electricity, producing less waste, recycling things like plastic and paper, and more! We’re modeling for our students what it means to Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle! It’s a good thing.
This is what we're doing at school:
Every other Wednesday is Waste-Free! On Waste-Free Wednesdays, classrooms compete with each other to see who can produce the least trash...the winner earns a special reward like extra play time outside, or some good food! Each classroom also listens to a fun teaching related to sustainability, or does a special activity like: making shopping bags from t-shirts. Protecting the earth is fun... kids see there are things they can do every day to make our earth a cleaner place!
Our students are learning to REFUSE...
...things that create a lot of waste, like plastic bags from the local grocery store...or like plastic or styrofoam containers from local restaurants. Why not use a cloth bag for carrying groceries home? Or their own container for carrying home leftovers? We're teaching them to think this way on purpose.
Our students are learning to REDUCE...
...the amount of trash they produce in the first place! When they buy things, they're thinking about what will be leftover after they eat or drink what's inside the container. They're thinking about buying food containers made from paper, instead of glass or plastic.
***Teachers in every class are setting their air units to warmer temperatures to conserve electricity.
Our students are learning to RE-USE...
...things like water bottles and everyday plastic containers that they might otherwise throw in the trash. They're thinking about re-purposing things like the plastic tub left after the cake is frosted, and glass bottles that were filled with soda - the plastic tub could be used to hold markers, and the glass bottles for decorating the house.
... our plastic dishes and silverware when they celebrate a birthday party at school.
Our students are learning that to RECYCLE...
...is really a last resort, only if there was no way to refuse, reduce, or reuse before that point. Our kids are making use of different recycling bins on our property...at UCA, we have a way to recycle glass, plastic, and paper. We work in cooperation with the Municipalidad de Osa, Unidad de Gestion Ambiental (Osa Municipality, Environmental Branch). We were a part of their "Mini-feria ambiental" in Bahia recently, where they taught our students about caring for the environment, especially in our unique part of the world.
If you want to help, this is what you can do at home:
1) You can check to make sure your student brings a reusable water bottle to school every day!
*We want our students to stay hydrated with cool, clean water. We also want to encourage them not to use disposable water bottles because this contributes to the massive global problem of plastic waste.
2) You can carpool with parents coming from the same direction.
*Talk to other parents living in your area and see if they are willing to share rides to and from school. Not only will this reduce the consumption of fuel and the emission of greenhouse gasses, but it will make your hectic mornings simpler!
3) You can participate in low waste lunch/event planning.
*When packing a lunch for your student, consider NOT using plastic bags and plastic wrap that gets thrown away in large quantities daily. Instead, consider using tupperware that can be cleaned and reused. If you plan to bring a treat for the students for a birthday or other occasion, please use UCA’s reusable serving ware that is meant just for this purpose. Please contact Miss Brigit in the school office if you’d like to use this serving ware.