The start of a new school year is exciting for parents, students, and teachers. However, all that excitement and the influx of new students can come with a big problem – waste. From pre-k to college, litter can majorly impact our schools. According to Keep America Beautiful, educational institutions spend an estimated $241 million on litter costs alone.
Back-to-school litter prevention is essential for maintaining a healthy and clean learning environment.
Here is what you need to know to curb litter’s impact on Tennessee schools:
The Impact of Litter in Schools
Litter in school can create a wide range of problems that affect a student’s learning outcome. For example, when food waste is not thrown into a trash can, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria and insects. And it’s bad for school moral. Litter can be distracting and demotivating to students and can affect their mental health.
Trash on campus and in other schools can also damage school property. Just think of the last time there was severe flooding in the area. Now imagine what the impact is when debris clogs up drains. Waste can also cause wear and tear on campus grounds, which will factor into the littering costs mentioned earlier.
Tips for Effective Litter Prevention in Schools
Now that we know the impact of litter in schools, how do we prevent it? Here are a few litter lessons that can help create a litter-free environment:
Lesson One: Education and Awareness
Including litter prevention in the curriculum can effectively teach students how to dispose of garbage responsibly. In addition, trash-free awareness initiatives and workshops can be practical and exciting. Volunteering in nature can have a positive impact on mental health, so it is a win/win. It is also important to encourage responsible waste disposal habits. Say something if you see a student or peer throwing trash on the ground! Sometimes this is the first step toward making progress.
Lesson Two: Waste Management 101
Implementing proper waste disposal is essential for curbing the school litter problem. There should be enough trash bins throughout the school, and this waste should be picked up and thrown away regularly. If your school does not have a recycling program or other litter-free initiative, it is always a good time to petition for one. You can also help students understand how to identify what trash can be recycled so that they develop good environmental practices early.
Lesson Three: Create A Litter-Free Culture
One of the best ways to combat litter on school grounds is to create a litter-free culture with students and staff, which can then impact parents, friends, family, and the wider community. Establish a school-wide litter policy that underlines some of the steps above. In addition, working with local businesses and organizations can help avoid littering by giving them more resources and support. Students can also feel more civically responsible by participating in cleanup events in their neighborhoods.
Join The Movement To Create Litter-Free Schools
It is essential to keep a litter-free school, but let’s not forget that keeping Tennessee clean is a job for everyone. Use the tips above to create a cleaner, healthier, and safer learning environment, then apply that to your local community. Remember that even small changes can make a big difference for the environment. Join the Movement and help end littering in Tennessee!