A Best Practice from Druskininkai “Saulė“ basic school
by Ilveta Eitmantienė, primary teacher of 6-7 year olds
Sorting is often seen as a trivial matter, incapable of making a difference to the global climate change problem. But all the world’s troubles start with small things that are influenced by the behaviour of each of us. One person can save a hundred trees by sorting their waste, and if their children follow him, the whole forest will remain uncut. The research question of this School Community project: Are we sorting waste correctly and willingly? How do we sort waste correctly?
The 1st grade students participated in the project. They had several meetings with community members, a lecture on waste sorting, educational videos with funny stories about protecting nature, which helped the children to learn how to sort their household waste correctly. We all together thought, what else can we do? Sorting is the first step if we want to live in a clean country, drink unpolluted water and breathe clean air. But it is not enough to be a responsible consumer. We decided to follow three steps rule: reduce packaging -> reuse -> recycle. All the parents and a few grandparents joined the project together with the children.
The students meet representatives of “Edulandas“ company and took part in the education “What secrets does water hide? What would happen if water suddenly disappeared or became unusable?“ In this innovative STEAM-based education, children explored the importance of water in the modern world. In the remote version of the education, children had the opportunity to have their say in virtual votes, the results of which influenced the choices of the characters in the story.
The children were conscientiously involved in the project activities, and we involved all family members. If children are taught the basics of waste sorting from an early age, it becomes a natural thing for them in the future. It is very difficult to forget bad habits, but much easier to develop good ones, which is why learning about the importance of waste sorting from an early age is particularly important.
Consumption is growing every day in line with the world’s growing population. But our habits are not environmentally friendly either. The more we consume, the more we pollute. The parents with students decided one month follow a few simple tips:
– buy only what you need;
– buy less often, but in larger quantities;
– buy packaging that can be recycled;
– buy goods in packaging that can be replenished (e.g. soap, rechargeable batteries);
– buying environmentally friendly goods (energy-saving light bulbs, items made from recycled materials);
– use less plastic bags – bring your own cloth bag to the shop.
A lot of the packaging we buy can start a second life in our homes:
– Plastic shopping bags bought in supermarkets can become rubbish bags at home and paper bags can become wrapping material;
– envelopes can be used for notes, memos;
– glass containers can become containers for all kinds of products;
– newspapers, cardboard packaging can be used as packaging material;
– old clothes at home can become new pillowcases, napkins;
– tyres can be used creatively at home – for example as swings for children;
– wood products can be used as firewood.
Every day at home, a significant amount of so-called green waste is generated. For every tonne of such waste that goes to landfill, 300-500 m3 of harmful gases are produced. It is therefore important that such waste is collected and managed separately:
– Composting can be used for garden and garden waste: flower and vegetable scraps, grass clippings, tree leaves, small twigs, poo from domestic animals (rabbits, chickens etc.);
– kitchen waste: vegetable waste, husks, shells, flowers, fruit, coffee and tea grounds;
– It is not advisable to compost weeds with seeds, which may persist in mature compost. Spreading such compost on the soil leads to contamination.
The results of the project have been published on the school’s Facebook page, and in the city’s weekly newspaper “Mano Druskininkai”.