Garbage, trash, litter or rubbish might not seem like the most exciting topic to kick off SIS Fellbach’s new sustainability team’s work, but the students all had great fun helping with the Fellbach clean-up. This was the first hands-on project for the more than 30 students in the “Go Green or Go Home” team who have been volunteering their time to improve sustainability in the school and in the area around it.
The Go Green team have been working on several projects since the group formed in January this year, including biodiversity and energy use, but have decided to focus on improving waste management during 2023. The waste management project can be split into three branches: firstly, recycling more waste products, secondly, reducing the waste which is produced at home and at school, and thirdly, reducing the amount of litter which is polluting our environment.
The school already has multiple bins to initiate the recycling, and so the Go Green team will focus first on educating people in all sections of the school to make sure they put their rubbish into the correct containers. This is easier said than done as can be seen by the questions: “When is paper not paper?” or “what belongs in the paper bin?” Paper tissues do not belong in the paper bin but wrapping paper does, for example.
Even more important than recycling waste is reducing all the waste produced. The Go Green team have brainstormed many ideas, including using electronic communication instead of photocopying, reducing packaging by bringing food containers to school and looking at alternatives to paper towels. More exciting is the idea of introducing a second-hand marketplace to buy and sell goods within the community. Whether this will be achieved electronically or as an annual market in school has yet to be decided. Facilitating and promoting the use of second-hand or “older” products should reduce the amount of waste of many rarer raw materials, such as those used in electronic goods or clothes.
Pollution in our environment
The Fellbach clean-up was an eye-opener to students and staff alike. Seven bags of rubbish were collected in the area around the school and the Fellbach railway station within an hour. This is an annual project organised by the Fellbach town council and some students have already asked if we can participate next year too. There are many similar projects in which we will be able to participate. One of these is organised by the DFJW (the Deutsch-Französische Jugendwerk) and involves converting kilometres walked whilst collecting rubbish into trees being planted in Germany and in France.
Pauline Ashworth, SIS Stuttgart-Fellbach Sustainability Lead Teacher