Tackling Litter at Stanwell

A whole school project to reduce the amount of litter in and surrounding the school.

What did you do and how did you involve the whole school?

Members of the eco-committee significantly reduced the amount of litter in targeted areas by raising awareness of the litter issue. They Made posters, put messages on the daily bulletin, installed additional bins, publicised the results of their survey and raised awareness with the whole school in assemblies by highlighting the issue of ocean plastic. In addition, they decided to work on the issue of single use plastic by purchasing branded reusable water bottles.

Stanwell’s Christmas production was the Little Mermaid. To reinforce the anti-litter message, committee members wrote a parody of ‘under the sea’ highlighting the issues of waste as part of the school’s production.

How and why did you decide on this target?

The environmental review identified small hotspots of problem areas for litter, despite the school being predominantly litter free. The Eco-Committee undertook a detailed survey of the school grounds and surrounding streets to identify who was dropping litter where and to find out what was being dropped. Having identified the issue, the Eco-Committee members came up with a number of approaches for tackling the problem.

How has the project impacted on your school and your community?

In terms of immediate litter reduction, adding an additional bin on the corner of the path had a clear effect, as litter in the bin showed it was being used. The effect of raising awareness and spreading the message about litter was more difficult to measure, although litter surveys showed a net decrease in litter, so it is likely that it made a difference.

Below is the data collected from the three litter surveys:

How did you celebrate success and what are your next steps?

We plan to continue to monitor litter throughout the school over the next year and will take action if there is a significant change. Whilst Stanwell staff and pupils are excellent at ensuring litter is put into a bin, the committee feels that more could be done to ensure recyclable and non-recyclable litter are placed into the appropriate bin. Food packaging is a specific area that could be focused on, as this can often be confusing (especially with our plastic-free Vegware, where compostable does not necessarily mean able to be put in food waste bins).