“The distance to the container cannot be the excuse”
This SCP was carried out at the Marcelo Spinola School in Jaén. It is a Catholic and concerted Center supported with public funds. There are about 325 students from three to 15 years old, from Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary Education. The geographical situation of the Center (Jaen South surrounded by other educational centers) makes them seek excellence and specialization in their professional practice, and for this reason, for many years they have given great importance to in-service teacher training in project based learning and collaborative methodologies. On the other hand, the neighborhood in which the Center is located, belongs to the old area of Jaén, implies that the area is configured in a complex network of narrow streets.
The SCP is developed within a Center project related to energy reduction (50/50 project), in such a way that 50% of the benefits obtained throughout an academic year were dedicated to improving the Centre’s energy efficiency. Between the months of October and December 2022, the Center opted to expand the project towards the field of waste management. Thus, the first step has been to identify recycling points in the neighborhood, detecting possible deficiencies and proposing suggestions for improvement to the council. Although the initial question was What can we do to encourage recycling in the neighborhood? it materialized into other more specific questions that could be addressed by the students: What do our neighbors need to recycle easily? How can we make the recycling points in our neighborhood visible so that people can use them? Are the recycling points adapted to the neighbourhood’s needs? Who and how can we inform to repair the deficiencies in the neighborhood recycling points? How can we take advantage of the waste we have? Who can help us make musical instruments with recycled material? The teachers formulated the general question but, as the project developed, the students themselves suggested questions to be addressed with the intention of answering the initial one. Thus, the students were the ones that decides about which questions should be approaches and the means to solve them. They hope, in the future, to achieve economic benefits with recycling, which they will incorporate into the 50/50 project.
Specifically, the actors involved were early childhood education students (5 years old) and upper secondary students (14-15 years old), 3 teachers (one from Early childhood education and two from secondary education, one from Biology and one from Technology), “La Gloria” Neighborhood Association, “Fuente de la Peña” Residence for the elderly and the City hall. There was no previous relationship between the Center and the members of the community (Association and Residence) so this SCP has been an important starting point for future collaborations. The relationship with the elderly has been very enriching from different points of view since, on the one hand, their knowledge of musical instruments has been essential to design them with recycled objects and, on the other, the personal and human relationships generated in the visits have fostered mutual respect and appreciation of the other generation. The neighborhood association “La Gloria” has developed cultural visits to the neighborhood, facilitating access to recycling points and allowing young people to get to know the neighborhood in depth.
- Location of the recycling points in the neighborhood (map), analysis of the situation and detection of deficiencies (locations that are not very accessible, number of containers not adapted to the real needs of the neighborhood, etc.)
- Preparation of an interactive map (My Maps) and brochures to locate recycling points in the neighborhood and distribution of information throughout the community (neighborhood shops, bars, restaurants, locals, nursing homes, other educational centers, etc. .)
- Inform the city council of the deficiencies detected and request for demands related to the improvement of the recycling points.
- Recycling of materials for the elaboration of musical instruments with the help of the users of the residence.
The solutions have been disseminated through QR codes and have been distributed by businesses and locals in the area. These QR codes directly access the interactive map to locate the recycling points, in such a way that the neighbors know the recycling points closest to their house, which is very useful because the neighborhood is made up of narrow alleys, which makes it difficult to direct visualization of the containers.
Thus, we believe that this SCP has become a success story for the city because it has been an advantage for the residents and it has allowed recycling points to be adapted to the real needs of the neighborhood.