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Waste Reduction Week


Courtesy: London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames

Start a Waste Reduction Week at your school.  Here are some activity and event ideas that you can hold in your school to demonstrate your commitment to waste reduction.  Each day has a theme during Waste Reduction Week to help you organize events.  Pick just one day or hold events on each theme day.

Monday is Reduction Day

  • Go on a supermarket tour to review purchasing habits and learn how to recognize and reduce over packaging.
  • Conduct a classroom or school waste audit.
  • Start a waste reduction newsletter.

Tuesday is Compost Day

  • Build backyard compost bins or indoor vermicomposters (worm composters) for food, yard and leaf waste produced at your school. Plant an organic garden of native plant species and nourish it with finished compost–it will look nicer than grass, use  less waster and will not require the use of pesticides. 
  • Have shop class make some bird houses to attract wildlife to the site.
  • Go on a tour of a compost facility

Wednesday is Zero Garbage Day

Celebrate Zero Garbage Day:  challenge classes to see which group can keep garbage generation to a minimum. Encourage wasteless lunches. Remove garbage cans from all classrooms and common areas and give each student a plastic bag to wear around his/her waist to collect the garbage that he/she produces. At the end of the day, award a prize to the student with the smallest bag, or get students to study the contents of the bags of garbage and make recommendations on how to reduce their waste.

Thursday is Conservation Day

  • Hold a tree planting event–make it personal by planting trees equal to the amount of paper used by your school each year for the number of books in the library, or the number of final exams printed.  (Use a rough calculation of 17 trees for each ton of paper).
  • Hold an alternative transportation challenge–within your school or against another school to see how many people (including staff and students) can walk, ride their bikes or take the bus.  Allow car-poolers and cyclists to have an extra long lunch hour or offer prizes to the winning class.
  • Green the School–put pollution-eating plants to work in as many rooms as possible. 

Friday is Reuse or Exchange Day

  • Organize a giant garage sale or a sporting goods exchange as a fundraiser.
  • Organize a clothing drive with collected items to be donated to social service organizations.
  • Collect one-sided paper from photocopiers and make it into scratch pads for math or art classes.

Saturday is Clean-up Day

  • Have classes/students adopt a section of the school property and pledge to keep it litter-free throughout the year.
  • Encourage students to use home-made toxic-free cleaning solutions in the home.


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