Tuesday, December 01, 2009

New Extension

The new extension at the front of the school is nearly finished. The architects and builders have done a grand job, matching the new building with our lovely old Victorian school. I know they took extra care with the window frames and sills. It will be a pleasure to look at while I'm sorting out the recycling!!!
Now the office staff will be able to work in peace, without being distracted by people having to use their very small room as a corridor to get from one part of the school to another and there will be a pleasant reception area for visitors.

I'm thankful that the villagers are still trying to use the recycling centre. The picture above shows that the builders have been working in very cramped conditions. Waste skips and latterly workers vehicles, have blocked the access for the companies that collect from the recycling area.

We are building a glass mountain in the corner!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Bad News--Good news

On returning from a two weeks restful break on Thassos (I shall plant some more trees via The Woodland Trust) and not having access to national or global news, it was depressing to start our first day back by listening to The Farming and Today programmes. Bumble and Honey bees still on the decline, as is the Arctic ice cap.

The good news is that had time to do a lot of reading. One of the books that I had in my case and thoroughly enjoyed was David MacKay's book about climate change. A strange thing to say about the prospect of impending chaos, but I was riveted by the way he has addressed the challenge of reducing out energy consumption in an understandable way! Everyone should read it and have it on their bookshelf. He is now the Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Great news!

The second good thing was an email from Dr. Gary Robertshaw, requesting reciprocal links with The Green Providers Directory No sooner said than done! You'll find information and links to most aspects of sustainable/ethical companies and organisations and MORE.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

So far, so good

This photo was taken at the end of the summer holiday. Now most of the end of the playground is taken up with equipment, building materials and of course, the new building and access ramps.
Difficult conditions for everyone to cope with, and nowhere for the children to play, when the weather is wet and they can't use the meadow to let off steam!
The new building is scheduled to be completed by Christmas., when I expect the recycling fund will help to provide "additional extras".
So I was really pleased to receive a bank payment of £814.46 in August, from Babergh District Council. The second amount of recycling weight credits this year.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

We'd never do this, but ...

One Last Shot

Work on the new extension at the front of the school has started, so took one last photo of the school, before the builders arrived.
It's hoped that the extension to the front and side of the old building will be finished by the end of next term. The new entrance, with a ramp access, will take up a considerable area of the play ground.
With little room to maneuver, the builders are having to use the recycling centre to site waste skips.
Let's hope that this access isn't disrupted too much, as the funds from recycling will be needed to subsidise future projects.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A glitch in the system

One of the pleasing things about looking after our recycling centre, in the middle of the Suffolk countryside, is the great views over the fields at the back. Heavy, stormy showers had been forecasted, but these passed us by, which was lucky, because I had a bit of catching up to do on the rubbish front!
After a hot weekend, the aluminium cans were flowing out of their wheelie bin. Old books needed to be rescued and taken home to be sorted. Likewise, the textile bank had clothes mixed in with shoes and other odd items, which all had to be dealt with appropriately.
So where was the glitch?
Well Boltons were not able to pick up the paper last month, as a builder's skip was in the way, so the excess paper has been stored elsewhere. As the banks had been emptied, I had to spend some time retrieving and stuffing paper into them, whilst enjoying the view in the diminishing evening light.
P.S. We got the rain the following day, heavy and thundery. Another sign of global warming-- but that's a much bigger glitch.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Most schools could raise funds by recycling some materials that are usually thrown away, even if storage space is a problem. If you're not able to set up, or have room for recycling banks, then one off collections for textiles and these other materials might be a good idea.
Textiles are quite valuable at the moment, hence the increasing number of charities that have plastic bags delivered to households throughout the country!
Black Country Rags have large lorries for their collections and pay schools for the weight of materials picked up. What's more, they assure me that their business is very environmentally friendly, in that they have recycling banks at their warehouse for plastic, paper and other extraneous items that are part of the collections. They have very little "waste" that end up in landfill sites
Takeback will collect 20 cartridges, free of charge. They take up little room when packed 2 to a box, or even better put them in 2 large boxes. Requests for a collection will usually be dealt with within 24 hours. You need to make sure that your cartridges are on their list before you ask for a collection.
Music Magpie likes people to have 100 CDs/DVDs and games.
Easy for large schools and if you get parents, local businesses and the community involved , these schemes could become mega money-makers for you in the greenest possible way

Monday, June 08, 2009

What's really Important

Whilst the UK's media and population are preoccupied by the activities of our politicians, Friends of the Earth are concentrating on the potentially more devastating and long lasting effects of climate change
Follow the link to sign a petition that will be presented to the World leaders, prior to the Copenhagen conference on climate change in December

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Invisibly Bad for You and Me

I’ve just got back from Thassos (relieved guilty feelings by offsetting with the Woodland Trust), knowing that I would return with some photos of beautiful sandy beaches, littered with rubbish, like the one below. There for all to see and do something about!

Which made me start to think about the environmental pollution which can’t be seen, but can still have a damaging effect. I know that I used to wonder if any of the old lead water pipes were still part of the plumbing in the kitchen at school, which was built in 1870. Then there was the ceiling in my classroom, a semi- permanent, prefabricated structure, which was added to the school in 1966. Thoughts of asbestos flitted through my mind, but surely not? Then I had an email from a representative of an asbestos awareness group, who asked if I would be willing mention the hazards of being exposed to asbestos. My knowledge of this is very limited, so, thank you Jack Bleaker for providing the information below.

Asbestos was used in thousands of commercial and consumer products, including ceiling constructions, for many years because it was fire retardant and proved to be a useful insulation component. Unfortunately however, asbestos was also found to cause cancer. Microscopic asbestos fibers, which will often become airborne as their surrounding compounds break down or age, are easily inhaled, often without even knowing. Once in the body, asbestos is associated with the rare cancer mesothelioma, known only to be caused by previous exposure to asbestos. Many would be amazed by how many of these types of products are still found in schools today. Pipe coverings, floor tiles, drywall, and other products that permeate schools all contained asbestos. These are the invisible hazards we may encounter every day.

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Bee's Knees

Teaching children about recycling and caring for our environment in a practical way, can be an ideal introduction to learning about all the issues that will effect on our planet's future. Sustainable use of our dwindling resources and climate change are perhaps the two most urgent problems.

So why the bee photo?
Well, some authorities believe that their global decline is a good indication of worsening environmental conditions.
Why Bee's Knees? (Something outstandingly good)
The Recycling Fund's paperwork has just been returned by our accountants, Larking Gowen. It shows a healthy income of £3,875.27 last year, which is less than previous years, but when you consider the economic slow-down and the amount of waste that we have rescued from landfill sites, it's great!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Rubbish Rubbish Everywhere

Life is full of coincidences. Only a couple of weeks ago I was listening to a program about the steady decline of the water in our seas and oceans. Marine biologist are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact that this has on marine life.
Last week, one of the main news items was about the increase in the amount of rubbish that litters our beaches, washed up by the tides and left by careless day trippers and holiday makers.
Then yesterday, I looked at my
daughter’s interesting, environmental blog, which has an invitation to look at a video clip, The Story of Stuff, which I did. A powerful piece, that makes you think beyond re-using, reducing, recycling and filling up our well-loved wheelie bins. This only scratches at the surface of the world’s waste problem.
I wonder how much of the rubbish that is floating around our coast, will eventually end up in the huge mass of plastic and other "stuff" that is floating around in the North Pacific Ocean?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

An Eco wash - down

Armed with Ecover washing up liquid in my refillable bottle, a 5 litre container full of water and various bits of cleaning equipment, I went along to the recycling centre on Sunday morning.

Keeping my head down and oblivious to everything, I set to work, hoping that the villagers didn't spot me
kneeling in front of our carton bank as they passed on their way to church.

It didn't take long to reveal the instructions on the front, so there is NO excuse for members the public to deposit the odd can or plastic bottle in there!

Let's hope that our shiny and almost new recycling facility will entice the village recyclers to bring their cartons along too.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Save the Children

I used to spend quite a lot of time talking about the different aspects of waste, when I was in school-- caring for our environment sustainability, litter, landfill, greed, packaging--- the topic can be vast and wide ranging. Photos of children scavenging over rubbish dumps in developing countries always got a reaction from my pupils, as did the follow- up explanation!

And then I would show them my Owl, which peers down at me from her perch on a shelf in my kitchen. Was the wire netting that was used to make my owl, rescued from a waste tip and sold to pay for food?
Perhaps the video will have the same impact on a wider audience.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Wash and Squash

Hurray---our carton recycling bank has arrived (thank you, Jonas, at Babergh D.C.) and looms large at the back of recycling area.
No artistic pictures though. The said bank does look a trifle tired, as if it's had a very long journey along wet, muddy Suffolk lanes to get to us. But never mind. We like re-use nearly as much as re-cycle!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Get out the Candles

On Saturday 28th March you can be part of a W.W.F.'s Global scheme, to show the politicians, that climate change cannot be dismissed and URGENT ACTION is needed.
At 8.30pm, turn off your light for an hour, (and anything else, I guess)!
Check out Transition Housewife for more eloquent details of the scheme or click on the link on the right

Monday, March 23, 2009

World Water Day

Currently, 900 million people around the world lack access to this basic and essential resource. Thousands of children die every day from preventable illnesses caused by dirty drinking water. Many more people are affected by painful and disfiguring diseases caused by waterborne parasites and bacteria.
I believe that everyone should have access to clean water- it is a basic right. However will the time come, when the world's precious resources have to be shared between a growing population, will clean water only be available to the richest nations, and at a price?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

New Money-maker feature!

I've added the latest list of cartridges that have a value, when you recycle with Takeback for Schools.
The information is to the right of the screen, after the details about Elmsett School. The list will be up-dated every month, so, keep an eye on this section. Your school might benefit from using this scheme!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Music Magpie Recycling Money Maker

I sent the first load of CDs that were left at the recycling centre to Music Magpie last week and received payment very promptly.
Congratulations all round!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Some new recycling fundraisers

Don't throw them away! If they are in their original cases, Music Magpie will pay for them and then sell them to new, appreciative customers.
However, if you are feeling magnanimous, you could post your unwanted goods to Elmsett CEVC Primary School IP7 6PA and help our small, very green Eco-school to raise funds for two large projects that are in the planning process.
The building work for the final extensiion is due to start later this year and as it will take up a large area of the playground, plans are afoot to have an all-weather surface area constructed on the meadow, next to the school.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Calm Before the Storm

Global warming is going to be worse than predicted is just one of the gloomy items of news from Planet Ark. Yet there is still a sense of apathy from the policy makers, planners and the "Not my Problem" families.
A number of my environmentally aware friends and relations are advertising the latest film about climate change. The Age of Stupid looks as if it could be a reality, non fiction horror prediction for everyone's future.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Christmas Card News

We took 5 bin liners of Christmas card to our local Tesco and I managed to weigh them on my bathroom scales this year, so the total weight was roughly 50kgs.
Over the last ten years the number of bin liners has usual been more than 5, so I reckon that we have sent almost half a tonne to the Woodland Trust's scheme.
Anyhow, I sent them an email to let them know about our efforts and had the following reply

Thank you very much for collecting all those cards for us! We are extremely grateful to you all for making such a huge effort on our behalf. Please will you pass on our thanks?

Our scheme isn’t all about tree planting. It’s really important to remember that the benefits of taking part in the scheme are two-fold. As well as raising money for trees to be planted - 17,000 trees last year, it also reduces the amount of harmful methane being pumped out into the atmosphere by cards being dumped on landfill. Our cards are recycled and re-used, reducing our impact on the planet.

Secondly, while it might seem that dropping off one card doesn’t make a big difference, we remind people that if everyone recycled just one card, we’d be able to plant 15,000 trees! Over the 12 years the scheme has run, around 144,000 trees have been planted. So what might seem like a small gesture is, actually, hugely important and has a big impact when it’s part of a national effort.

Once again, many, many thanks for your valuable contribution and for supporting our scheme.

With very best wishes

Alison Evershed

Christmas Card Recycling Scheme Administrator


I'm looking forward to receiving the certificate!