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New Zero Waste Policy at ISL

By Chris Starr
New Zero Waste Policy at ISL

Grade 1 children at the International School of Luxembourg took their learning about the environment one step further this semester. One of their teachers proposed the idea of a “Zero Waste Week,” a challenge to have absolutely no rubbish that would normally go into landfill or, as is the case in Luxembourg, an incinerator for burning. The 84 six- and seven-year-olds were all instantly up for the challenge and excited about this new and hands-on experiment.
The first problem they encountered was their morning snack, provided by a catering company, which is heavily packaged. After having visited the SICA recycling centre in Kehlen, in Luxembourg, the children put their knowledge of sorting various plastics into action and they soon realized it could be done.
Having achieved 100 percent recycling on the plastics, the next difficulty was what to do with the cheese wax from the Babybel cheese cases. The students checked the Internet and apparently there are several ways to reuse this kind of paraffin wax: fire starters, wax seals for letters, and homemade jam seals.
Teachers got in on the act, sending their tea bags and coffee pads to the compost box, supplementing the fruit and vegetable waste, paper hand towels, and serviettes that were already there. Clean classroom paper was either reused or sent to the paper recycling bin.
The children are now proposing ways to reduce their snack packaging and are about to embark on a letter-writing campaign to the school’s catering firm.
Children also learned to sort rubbish into what can and cannot go into the blue Valorlux recycling bags that the country of Luxembourg supplies all residents, so that they can become ambassadors for good recycling at home.
Parents have been writing in to the school to compliment the teachers on this educational initiative and to let the school know how their children’s habits are changing noticeably for the better.

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