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Reduce @ School


Reducing the amount of waste we produce is the best way of tackling the issue of waste. This can seem like a big job from the outset with big changes in behaviour needed in order to make progress. However, it is important to remember that every decision you make can help in reducing the overall waste stream, reducing both the amount and the cost of your waste. Assessing your purchasing and recycling procedures, composting, as well as rethinking the way you view waste all contributes to reducing the amount of waste produced.

One way to get the school to rethink the relationship that it has with waste is to start an awareness campaign promoting waste as a resource, using waste monitors to champion waste awareness. Starting with an audit, to identify the types and quantities of the waste that your school produces, can raise awareness and provide a baseline from which to gage how your reduction techniques impact on the waste that is created.
The 2 largest waste streams which schools create are paper and food waste. Reducing paper waste can greatly decrease the volume of waste created and reducing food waste cuts down on most of the weight.


  • Place scrap trays in each classroom, office and copier room
  • Set printers to a default of double sided printing
  • Make double sided photocopying routine
  • Offer parents the choice of receiving newsletters by email (its won’t get lost in the school bag either!)
  • Encourage staff to save documents electronically rather than printing out a hard copy.
  • Where possible, use a sibling list to send out one letter per family to save paper and avoid parents receiving multiple copies.
  • Reuse old envelopes by sticking a label over the address.
  • Put in hand driers to the toilets rather than using paper towels and/or encourage students to shake before they take when drying their hands.
  • Give shredded paper to children with pets for bedding.
  • Clearly mark any post as ‘Junk Mail’ and return to sender along with registering with the Mailing Preference Service to reduce the amount of unwanted mail your school receives. 


  • Register with the Fax Preference Service to cut out unwanted faxes that use up your paper.




  • Composting can be a great tool both to reduce waste and educate. To find out more visit our composting pages.
  • Encourage pupils to eat more fruit and less foods that come individually packaged. If your school has cooked lunches it may be possible to look into portioning especially with persistent food waste offenders. This should also save money.


Rethink the items that you do throw away

  • Could someone else use your rubbish? Unwanted items such as furniture and books can be donated to local charity shops, advertised on Freecycle, or exchanged in ‘swap shops’ or ‘give and take’ days.


  • Set up a scheme to collect old ink cartridges and mobile phones from the local community. Some charities are keen to accept these to help raise funds.
  • Make it easy for pupils and their families to swap, donate and exchange second hand uniforms. Run a ‘reuse fashion show’, a ‘swap shop’, or a ‘give and take’ day to make it easy for parents and pupils to do this.
  • Books and equipment that are no longer wanted can be offered for distribution around other Devon schools but if they no longer fit with the curriculum then here are a couple of websites that may be interested in them. 



  • Avoid using single use/disposable items such as batteries. Good quality rechargeable batteries can be used again and again saving valuable resources and reducing the number of batteries been thrown away.









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