Waste Wise Kids

Educating the nation’s school children on how to fight the war on waste

Encore Environment collaborates with schools across the UK to teach children ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Encore Environment, a leading waste management and environmental consultancy, has launched ‘Waste Wise Kids’ a pioneering school’s program to teach children about the importance of recycling and sustainability, and the impact it will have on their future. The educational program, which includes an on-site presentation, tasks and experiments, competitions and recycled handouts has been developed by the Encore team and has so far engaged with over 1000 school children aged from four to 12 years old.

In business, Encore Environment work with large construction companies to reduce and recycle waste providing total waste management. This often challenges conventional methods of waste disposal and requires the company to think differently about its processes. Encore also facilitates the diversion of waste material such as white goods, carpet tiles, crockery and sand from landfill to be reused by hospitals, charities, schools, women’s refuges and social enterprises in need.

Teach children early

Rachel Rowley, Encore Environment’s director said: “As a mother of two, I am acutely aware of how important it is for us to teach our children from a young age about waste and sustainability, and the huge role that plays on our future.

“Children are naturally excited by new concepts and its interesting how many were shocked to think of their old toys and clothes as waste, they automatically just think of tins of beans and yoghurt pots! As a company, we want to impart our knowledge on the next generation and show them how easy it is to recycle and repurpose things they don’t want anymore. We have a particular emphasis on plastics and single use, and we show them what beaches look like covered in waste plastics. They are openly shocked.”

Diverting waste away from landfill

DEFRA reported in its March 2019 edition of UK Statistics on Waste, that in 2016 the UK generated 222.9 million tonnes of total waste, an increase of 4.2% from the 214.0 million tonnes generated in 2014. Construction, demolition and excavation (CD&E; including dredging) was responsible for 61% of that. Encore Environment’s ethos is that a large amount of this waste can be diverted to alternative points of process.

As such, the company has invested in and developed a new mobile app, ProjectDIVERT. It enables the diversion of waste from landfill by following a structured waste hierarchy, that can determine where to utilise waste materials most effectively. This can result in a large proportion of the waste being recycled or repurposed by organisations in need. It will be the first of its kind in the UK and will be launched this year. In testing, it is already having a measurable impact on minimising landfill waste and decreasing carbon footprints.

Russell Lunn, head teacher at Sywell CEVA Primary School said: “What we love about Waste Wise Kids is that it teaches the child to make the right choices about waste, which will hopefully stay with them throughout life. It was pitched perfectly to be accessible for all of the children whether they were four or 11 years old. It’s such an important subject to tackle and as a teacher to have the support of a company like Encore Environment is a real benefit. The children are so excited to show how capable they are, by building recycled robots and thinking of new ideas on how the school can reduce waste.”

How to get involved and book a presentation for your school

The national roll out of Waste Wise Kids, Encore Environment’s schools program, is underway and teachers can now visit Waste Wise Kids webpage for more information about what is involved and how to book a presentation.

Talking about future plans, Rachel added: “We would like to see the topic of being ‘waste wise’ integrated more in the curriculum, rather than being an add on. We are very excited at how engaged and enthusiastic the children are, and we hope it continues to gain momentum across the country.”

Further information can be found here, @Encore_Enviro on Twitter and @EncoreEnvironment on Facebook, for regular updates.