Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School Eco Team

The ECO Team at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School in Lanark (CDSBEO) emerged in an effort to build awareness in students and staff about the Christian Ecological Imperative. The group meets once a week for discussion, planning and preparation of special initiatives.

Early in the school year, the ECO Team hosted a school assembly.  In the informational component of the assembly the team reviewed the 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) and introduced special initiatives like Waste-Free Wednesdays, where students who bring a garbageless lunch have their names entered into a weekly draw to win a reusable water bottle.

The assembly engaged students with fun but meaningful activities such as the Race to Reuse, a relay-style dressing race using reusable clothing.  Another relay-style activity was the Recycle Relay where student teams sorted items into the appropriate bins – waste, compost, plastic, paper – to educate students about the appropriate way to sort items.  This was a precursor to the five week long sorting challenge where each classroom was audited by the ECO team daily to ensure items were sorted into the appropriate bins.  Classrooms received a green sticker if all items were sorted correctly in appropriate bins, a yellow sticker if some items were sorted incorrectly (i.e. garbage in compost), and a red sticker if many items were sorted incorrectly.  A bulletin board (visual in nature, so that all ages could understand) was created to help remind students how items should be sorted.  The assembly concluded with the message reinforced through the Jack Johnson song “The 3 Rs”.

The ECO Team also has weekly ECO tips on morning announcements to educate staff and students on ‘Green Ideas’.  As well, team members created footprints with ECO messages to inform students and staff how to reduce our carbon footprint on the earth.  The school continues to collect and reuse milk bags to weave mats to send to developing countries.

Sacred Heart makes a determined effort to reduce paper waste by having GOOSE (good on other side) bins in each classroom so students can reuse paper for art sketches, math problem solving, and pre-writing as part of the writing process.

In this 2014-2015 school year, the school entered into two new initiatives with Staples.  The first initiative is with Staples and Clover Environmental Solutions in a program offered to all schools across Canada to recycle ink and toner cartridges.  Each month, hundreds of tons of empty ink and toner cartridges are kept out of landfills as a result of this program.

The second initiative is to recycle writing instruments.  Staples, together with Newell Rubbermaid, are collecting used writing instruments including pens and caps, mechanical pencils, markers and caps, highlighters and caps as well as permanent markers and caps. These used writing tools are made into items such as park benches and waste bins by TerraCycle Canada.  Also, for every used Sharpie®, Paper Mate®, Expo® and uni-ball® product received, TerraCycle will donate $0.02 to the national environmental charity Earth Day Canada.

The ECO Team at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School in Lanark is committed to making the world a better place through educating staff, students and families around our Christian call to environmental stewardship.

Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few: Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude. (Pope Francis)