Many Eco-Schools choose to tackle litter in their school as one of their first priorities following their Environmental Review. It is a highly visible issue and one that is easily understood by all ages. A litter-free school is very noticeable and can enhance your school’s image in the local community.
There are lots of ways to tackle litter in your action plan. This can include raising awareness in class and at assemblies; appointing litter monitors to check/advise pupils not to drop litter; doing a Big Tidy Up; and installing more bins or moving existing ones to problem areas.
Schools, litter and the law
In terms of the law, all state-funded schools have responsibilities to make sure that the grounds are kept free of litter. Any private individual can take a school to court for having litter in its grounds; and a school can be fined up to £2,500 plus a daily fine until the litter is cleared.
Keep Britain Tidy
Eco-Schools is run in England by the anti-litter charity, Keep Britain Tidy. Keep Britain Tidy regularly campaigns against litter and neglect and has developed campaigns specifically for young people. You can request free posters and stickers to display in your school through the Keep Britain Tidy website.
Join the Big Tidy Up and Show the World you Love Where You Live
Doing a Big Tidy Up is a great way to tackle litter in your school. The campaign is run by Keep Britain Tidy and is England’s biggest ever spring clean. You simply register to join the campaign by logging onto www.thebigtidyup.org. Then you will receive a free tidy up kit containing everything you need to get started, such as refuse bags, tabards, stickers, badges and an information booklet. All you’ll need are your own litter pickers, however these can often be borrowed from your local council. Since it was launched in 2008, thousands of schools have joined the Big Tidy Up, helping to collect thousands of bags of litter.
You can start using Love Where You Live's free resources now and sign up your school to our Love Where You Live campaign. By signing up to the principles to improve school areas and local communities and by making a pledge you will be able to develop projects that fit with the Eco-Schools Awards and the curriculum.
South West Eco-Schools
BeachCare is a project being trialled in Devon and Cornwall. If your school is in the area you are invited to take part and complete a beach clean on your local beach. The project will support your work towards the Eco-Schools litter topic and enable pupils to become involved with the wider community and the surrounding environment. The BeachCare leaflet will give you more information.
Download the BeachCare leaflet
Wider campaigns and other useful links
CPRE and the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust have worked together to produce a creative and inspiring education pack for schools revealing how litter can hurt or even kill wildlife, and the wider damage litter has on our environment.
The resource pack, ‘How to Run a Whole School Litter Campaign’, includes facts about litter and photographs that show wildlife injured by carelessly dropped rubbish. It contains practical activities and lessons to encourage children to understand the problem of litter and the harm it can do to wildlife and the wider environment.
Download the Pack (15.8MB PDF)
Our useful links page also provides details of organisations to contact for further help on this issue, as well as a range of promotional materials available to order to support anti-litter campaigns you can run in your school.
Linking litter into the curriculum
Eco-Schools England have developed a series of lesson ideas designed to inspire you on your journey to embedding sustainable issues into everyday lessons. We have primary and secondary ideas that will encourage your students to solve real-life problems and present their solutions in a variety of ways.
Many of these lesson ideas cover the litter topic as well as link into a range of curriculum areas. Visit our Eco-Schools Free Resources section or the Love Where You Live Resources section to find out more and to download these lesson ideas.
See how other Eco-Schools have successfully addressed the litter topic
Pupils at Greenside Primary School have created a fantastic litter rap.
Kingswood Prep are tackling litter issues in their school grounds
Bewsey Lodge Primary pupils are showing that they "Love where they live". They have decided to involve the whole school in litter picking and monitoring, in order to improve their school grounds
A Big Tidy up at John Bentley School has led them to reduce their waste and recycle more
Or visit our case studies section for even more ideas and inspiration from other Eco-Schools
National Awareness Days and Campaigns
There are many National Awareness Days, events and campaigns that tie in with the Eco-Schools litter topic. Why not use them as a way to introduce litter issues or projects to your classes and get your students really interested and involved with them. Click on the titles to find out more.
You can get all the environmental awareness dates for the coming academic year, as well as dates for Eco-Schools and Pod events by downloading the 2012-2013 Year Planner.