The UK government is aiming to have all schools classed as ‘sustainable schools’ by 2020, meaning that through lessons and day-to-day school life pupils are engaged with the environment and sustainability. Individual schools are responsible for the ways in which they achieve this, but help from local councils or other organisations is sometimes available.

 

Several London councils, including Croydon, Richmond and Sutton, are encouraging schools to join the Eco-Schools programme, which is an international award programme that helps schools embed sustainability into many aspects of school life. They provide resources and advice on how a school can become more sustainable and recognise improvements through a series of awards. Many councils also offer free recycling collection, helping schools to increase their recycling rates and engage pupils with recycling.

 

Beyond the economic and environmental benefits of becoming more sustainable, studies conducted by Ofsted have even shown a link between schools promoting sustainability and pupils getting better marks and becoming more engaged across many lessons.

 

The UK government has written a list of tips to make schools more sustainable, which is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/187037/DFE-32056-2012.pdf

 

Sources:

The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2013/jun/17/energy-efficiency-sustainability

Eco-Schools: http://www.eco-schools.org.uk/aboutecoschools

Carbon Trust: https://www.carbontrust.com/resources/guides/sector-based-advice/schools/

 

Each year UK householders waste on average 7 million tonnes of food waste. Of this waste, 4.2 million tonnes is avoidable, the equivalent of 6 meals every week for the average household. This wastage is estimated to cost £470 for the average householder and £700 for a household with children according to data from WRAP.

At ACE, as part of our Sustainable Communities Project we are trying to engage and communicate with communities about living sustainably, including food waste avoidance. To achieve this we run interactive workshops to engage local communities and provide practical tips and information.

So what can I do? ACE has come up with a series of simple steps that can be carried out to reduce your food waste and save your money!

1. Planning, Planning, Planning!

-Create shopping lists to make sure you only buy what you need and plan meals ahead.
-Love your leftovers – get creative! Come up with new recipes using leftover food.

2. Portion sizes

-Perfect portion sizes, only cook what you can eat! Check the labels on pasta and rice packets for further guidance.

3. Storage

-Make the most of your freezer! The freezer can be a useful way to store food you have not eaten and reheat when you need. Be careful to check the guidelines as to how long items can be frozen . (Guidelines)
-Store foods at the correct temperature, check food labels to ensure you are storing them at the right temperature so they stay fresher for longer.
-Use date labels on food to make sure you know when it will expire.

So why not give some of these quick and easy tips a go?! Not only will you be reducing your carbon footprint by avoiding food waste but you will also be saving money!

Head to WRAP’s Love Food Hate Waste page for recipes and more information. One of our favourite recipes at ACE are these crispy fried rice cakes which can be quickly made up using everyday items from the kitchen.

Or why not get in contact with ACE to organise a workshop in your area? At info@ace.org.uk or 02072506961.

People have complained about the inflationary use of the word Sustainability for years. Advertising Age has ranked it in their “Jargoniest Jargon” list of the year 2010. Yet, at 8Plastics Plus we decided to use it all over the shop. Why?

We think it’s a great word with an inclusive meaning that other words such as resilience or environmental awareness do not provide. We like the Brundlandt Commission’s definition of sustainability best: meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. For us, this includes the acknowledgement that resources are finite, that we have a duty to support life on earth in all its forms and that there are individual rights and community responsibilities.

Unfortunately, it is this inclusiveness or, say, vagueness which invites its use in too many contexts. The problem seems to lie with the for-profit sector where marketing people have clocked on that prefixing the word sustainable to a product makes the consumer feel all fuzzy and good inside – and more willing to buy. Using sustainability to refer to bank accounts, shoes or to tokenistic environmental efforts of large multi-national corporations has eroded its meaning.

On the other hand there are great organisations such as the London Sustainability Exchange and Forum for the Future who talk about sustainability and who really mean to create positive change.

The trouble is that if people who really believe in sustainability move on from using it, the word loses further meaning and we lack a concept that describes what we are passionate about. Even if we move on to a new word, there is no guarantee that it will only be used in a context that we like. So, our message is: Reclaim it! Use the word sustainability in meaningful ways to balance out all the empty messages that we are bombarded with. Make sure to define it so that people know what sustainability means to you and then start winning over the world for your cause.

Go on, spread the word, future generations need you!