The Environmental Club at Northumberland Regional High School has been hard at work over the last few months to make their school and community more sustainable. The creativity of the group and their motivation to support all things green has resulted in several events around the school, including events to recognize Waste Reduction Week, and more.
Waste Reduction Week was hosted back in October and included a school ground cleanup at lunchtime, a BYO Mug event for FREE hot chocolate, and a “No Straws or Plastic Cups Challenge"! The cleanup was supported by Madam Cameron, the club’s advisor, resulting in seven bags of trash collected in a mere 20 minutes. The students didn’t find anything out of the ordinary, but they were rather amazed at the quantity of trash around the school. Some students even noted how taking those 20 minutes to notice the trash and pick it up made them want to pick up more trash that they see on a regular basis.
The “No Straws or Plastic Cups Challenge,” involved encouraging students and staff at the school to refuse plastic straws and single-use cups as much as possible. While we use straws and disposable cups more than we realize, these disposable products can be easily avoided. We can drink out of our own reusable bottle or mug, that's easy! For those people who really love using a straw, they can get reusable straws made of metal, silicone, glass, or even bamboo! These straws can be used over and over, eliminating all single-use plastic straws often seen at restaurants and in take-out beverages.
The BYO Mug event at NRHS was a big hit, with students lining up in the halls with their own reusable mugs, awaiting a free hot chocolate. So many of us have travel mugs and reusable gear that we may forget at home so we end up using disposable items. This event was a great way to show the students how easy it is to bring your own mug with you to avoid disposable cups every day.
The green ideas didn’t stop there. In November, the team hosted a textile drive in the school when they encouraged students to bring in their old clothes and cloth material from home. In Nova Scotia, more than 7,000 tonnes of textiles are recycled each year. However, another 30,000 tonnes still goes to Nova Scotia landfills. Old clothes and shoes can be reused by someone else! NRHS encouraged students to bring in their clothes they no longer wear, to ensure they’d be given to a local charity or to those in need or sent to an AFTeR Wear bin of choice.
The NRHS Environmental Club consists of a dedicated group of youth who understand the importance of protecting the Earth and making greener choices every day. They are even hoping to work with the school to help reduce disposable plastic products at school. This is an initiative that is becoming more popular in youth groups at schools since many plastics aren’t recyclable and can end up as ocean plastic. It is inspiring to work with the NRHS Environment Club and to see the club's initiative, creativity and many sustainability accomplishments!
Check out the Environmental Club Instagram Page to stay up to date with their projects and events. Their page has even been noticed by Waste Reduction Week in Canada, providing even more encouragement for greening their school. For many more ideas on sustainability initiatives, check out the Green Schools NS Support Packages.
~Pamela Chandler, Engagement Officer