Setting up the committee
We formed a revolving committee which meant the members changed each term. This gave everyone a chance to become involved. The committee included members from all classes. We had two permanent members, Lucy and Céilí. Mrs. Maguire and Mrs. Burns were our teacher members. Our secretary, Eileen was a member and our parent members were Olga Kennedy and Ann Murray. The committee met regularly to discuss progress and to plan future actions.
Litter and Waste Audits
We also carried out a litter audit in the school yard. We identified a litter blackspot behind the playground wall. Some children were leaving uneaten lunches on window sills outside.
We carried out a survey to find out what the pupils knew about recycling. We found out that a lot of us were recycling at home but many of us did not know which materials could be recycled.
With the help of parents on the committee, we carried out a waste audit. We emptied the bins in each classroom and sorted and weighed it. We found a lot of uneaten lunch and fruit.
We put new bins in all the classrooms, green for recycling, yellow for composting and blue for landfill waste. We also set up boxes for recycling used batteries and old mobile phones. The committee put labels and pictures on each bin to help us decide which bin we needed to use. We then went around each classroom talking about the importance of reusing and recycling for the environment. We also put this information on the Green Board.
Our audits showed us that almost all of our litter and waste was coming from lunches and packaging. We carried out surveys to see what kind of packaging was being used in our lunchboxes. We found that a lot of tinfoil and clingfilm was being used and these cannot be recycled. We wrote to parents asking them to help us by not wrapping sandwiches in clingfilm or tinfoil. We continued to carry out lunchbox surveys every few weeks and we noticed that there was a lot less packaging on the lunches. Some children managed to have no packaging at all. We then set up a rota for washing yogurt cartons so that they could be recycled when dry in the green bin.
Hallowe'en Dress Up
We had a Hallowe'en Action Day. Parents helped children make costumes from recycled materials. Each pupil described their costume and how it was made. We really enjoyed looking at all the creative costumes and there were prizes for the best ones.
Visit by Waste Management Officer
Waste management Officer Eamonn Costello from Cavan County Council visited the school to talk to us about the problems caused by litter and waste.
Visit to Recycling Centre
National Spring Clean
We took part in an Taisce's National Spring Clean, Ireland's anti-litter programme which takes place in April each year. Parents, teachers and pupils from the Senior room collected litter from the school to the main road.
Litter Picking Rota
Craft projects using recycled materials
We have recycled as much as we can when doing art and craft projects. Here are some examples.
Christmas Action Day
Our Christmas Action Day was a great success. Leading up to the day, the committee went around the classrooms encouraging everyone to bring in old Christmas cards and decorations, empty plastic bottles etc. We set up a collection point for all the materials.Our Action Day was a 'No packaging day' where each pupil was challenged to bring in lunch without packaging. We had a 'Green' themed quiz in the hall for all the classes. The teachers and parents set up craft stations around the school for making Christmas decorations. We all enjoyed making the decorations and in the afternoon we invited the parents to come in and see our display.
Green School Award Ceremony
In May, Mrs. Burns, Mrs. Maguire, Céilí and Lucy from the Green School Committee attended a special award ceremony in the Helix in DCU. Schools from all over Ireland were there to receive their Green Flag. Members of an Taisce and other special guests spoke about the important work Green Schools were doing. It was a proud moment for our school when Céilí and Lucy were presented with our Green Flag for Litter and Waste. All the guests had lunch and took some photos before returning home.
Raising the Green Flag
To celebrate our achievement, we held a flag raising ceremony on Sunday the 4th of June. We invited local business man Sean Quinn to raise the flag. We all watched proudly as the Green flag was raised. It represents the committment of the whole school community; pupils, staff and parents to the principles of reducing, re-using and re-cycling. The ceremony was followed by a fete organised by the Parent's Association. The children were entertained with bouncy slides and novelty games and everyone enjoyed the barbecue!