Garbology 101 begins

So far my fourth standard class has met twice (we meet once per week) to learn about waste. Our first class focused on discussing the main premise of garbology’s curriculum. I enticed the students into a conversation about what waste is, what kind of waste we have in our houses, why we have the waste we do, and where that waste goes when we’re through with it (there’s no such thing as throwing something “away”).

The responses from the kids touched on all of the main ideas at the core of Wasteless‘ programme–most importantly “turning off the tap” or reducing what one buys so that one consumes less and produces less waste.

We ended our first class with a short walk to what we call the swimming pool because at one point this was a swimming pool at our school. Today it’s a place where we are supposedly segregating waste, although in the last two years I’ve never seen the waste actually segregated, which is why we are embarking on this project to manage the waste at our school. The kids, most of whom are new, were surprised to see what a mess the area was.

This last week I made all the kids run home to find something in the trash bin that belonged to them. Most of them brought multi-layered foil packaging from biscuits or candies (there had been a birthday party recently). But a couple of children brought some interesting objects: one brought a painting she made that she didn’t like, but she conceded that it could be reused in various ways; another had a plastic pen that could be refilled; one brought a glass bottle, which she realised would make a nice vase for flowers; and one brought in styrofoam from some packaging (a great chance to talk about eco-friendly alternatives!).

Below is a snapshot of what we accumulated on that one day. We’re building awareness and hopefully changing the culture one nine-year-old at a time.

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