Schools SWAP shop cuts waste

Liverpool schools are aiming to cut their waste by up to a quarter, thanks to a new project.

The School Waste Action Programme (SWAP) project offers schools hands-on support to reduce their impact on the environment and to engage with and trial different ways to reduce their waste from purchasing to recycling.

It is managed by the Eco Resource Network, who are a group of Merseyside based charities: Energy Projects Plus, Faiths4Change, Liverpool World Centre and Rotters Community Composting and is being funded through the Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA) and Veolia Environmental Services Community Fund.

More than 50 schools across the city region have applied to join the School Waste Action Programme, and eight have been selected for one to one support including two in Liverpool – Our Lady’s Bishop Eton Catholic Primary, Mossley Hill, and Northcote Primary in Walton.

The SWAP project will provide a dedicated Officer to enable the whole school community to engage with and trial different ways to reduce their waste from purchasing to recycling.  The aim is to enable the eight SWAP schools to reduce their waste by up to 25% by May 2014.

The remaining 40-plus schools won’t miss out though as they will be able to access other support to reduce waste including a workshop ‘Sustainable Schools: Where teaching meets school business management’ in January 2014 which will provide learning and networking experience to help schools create and embed a sustainable procurement plan.

Included in the support for all the schools will be the Textile Challenge which enables the whole school community to get involved.  A school assembly will launch a textile collection in each participating school and all kinds of textiles – from curtains to cardigans – can then be brought in for recycling with every item contributing towards a recycling payment to each school too.

Councillor Graham Morgan, MRWA Chairperson said: “The Community Fund is about investing in great ideas from the community which have the potential to ultimately save us money by cutting our landfill bill – but that’s just part of it. The work we’re funding will benefit whole communities by providing training opportunities, making environmental improvements, supporting isolated or vulnerable people and helping households struggling on low income.”

Annie Merry, from the Eco Resource Network said “We’re really pleased to have such a great response and look forward to working with schools.  Many schools recognise the need to reduce their impact on the environment but despite excellent materials being available, some struggle for time to make the most of these to reduce school waste and rubbish.”

Carl Beer, MRWA Chief Executive said: “All of the projects we’re supporting represent a real range of great ideas and show just how creative people can be when it comes to thinking of new ways of encouraging people to change their waste disposal habits.”