6 Simple Sustainability Tips for Your Early Childhood Service...

sustainability Feb 11, 2021

Whether you think of yourself as an eco-warrior, or are still not too sure where to start when it comes to sustainability, we all have room for growth. 

 

Today I sat and opened a package that arrived in our office. Inside one envelope was two smaller envelopes. Inside each envelope... was a bubble wrapped package. This sort of thing makes my eye twitch and my temperature rise for a second or two, but then I stop and remind myself that we are all at different stages of our sustainability journey. There was a time when I would have happily wrapped something in bubble wrap, and wouldn't have thought twice about the extra packaging. 

 

As both a parent and an educator (and just a human being in general) I have had to make so many choices over the years about the products I use and the way in which I do things. When I first began working in a service, I typically didn't question the status quo (such as putting every load of washing in the dryer, even when the weather was sunny), but over time - perhaps even more so when I was pregnant with my first child and contemplating what kind of world I was bringing him into - I began to stop and think "what does this do to the earth?" 

 

Now, I try to ask myself that question when I make a purchase, or when I choose to drive instead of walk somewhere. Does it mean I always do the most "sustainable"/eco-friendly thing? Nope. But it does make me reflect on my choices. It does make me more accountable. When I began asking this question, we made changes in our service - we installed a clothesline and the children LOVED helping us bring the washing out and hanging it up. 

 

This was a really simple change, bought about by reflection. So, I want to encourage you to reflect on your practices and the choices you make as a service, and to consider some really simple ways in which your service can be more sustainability minded. 

 

6 SIMPLE SUSTAINABILITY TIPS FOR YOUR EARLY CHILDHOOD SERVICE

 

  1. Contact local businesses and ask them "what do you throw away?" One year, we were given an enormous box of old laminate samples from a joinery and the children used these in so many ways in their play. 
  2. Set up a community swap station. You can encourage families to bring in unwanted clothing, books, or toys and swap them for others.  We loved this "clothes exchange" we spotted at The Hub Preschool and Early Education Academy last year.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
  3. Put a sign on your printer - "can you print this on recycled paper?" and keep a tray with paper that has been printed on one side only, nearby. (Be sure not to reuse any paper with confidential information on it) 
  4. Compost/Green Waste - If your council area has a green waste service for food - use it! If not, set up a compost bin or worm farm and encourage children to take responsibility for placing scraps in it. Then - make sure you utilise it! Our children used to put the worm juice (liquid from the bottom) into jars and sell it to local families for 50c, which they would then use to buy more garden supplies. 
  5. Turn off the lights - when you leave a room or go outside for play, turn the lights off! A pretty simple tip, but you'd be surprised at the number of services that have all lights on all day long. 
  6. Buy local where you can - It might not always be possible, but where you can shop local, do it. This saves on the transporting (fuel emissions etc) of resources. 

 

So, there you have it! 6 super simple things you can do pretty quickly and easily in your service. You might already be doing some of them and if so - give yourself a big pat on the back. If doing all 6 feels overwhelming - pick one and start there. 

 

For more on Sustainability - join our upcoming webinar "Sustainability: More than a Worm Farm" on 18th February 2021

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