Background Information - St. Laurence's School, Greystones, Co. Wicklow

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News, Events & Sport > Green Schools

St. Laurence’s pioneering the way towards a GREENER WORLD.

Here in St. Laurence's, we maintain a high standard of “Green-ness". We strive to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle making us worthy of flying the coveted Green-Flag.

A. Reduce

What have we reduced?

1. Reduced Waste

Less waste was our initial target and our major success in this department was achieved through individual and whole-school commitment to the use of re-usable lunch-boxes and bottles, re-usable plastic-packaging and tin-foil, not to mention composting our organic waste. The end result; we ceased to be a commercial customer in 2006 and we have surpassed all our expectations in reducing waste with only 1 domestic bin-full being collected per week. Considering our staff totals 45 and the fact that we have 517 children on our rolls, we consider this to be a massive achievement.

Complimenting this lunch initiative in our endeavour to reduce waste, is the huge emphasis we place on using both sides of the paper when photocopying. Our unwanted used paper is shredded and fed to our composter.

2. Reduced Energy Consumption

Embodied in our Green-Code revisited annually, is our commitment to turning off unwanted lights and radiators, closing windows, blinds and doors to reduce heat loss and unplugging electrical equipment when not in use. A significant move towards sustainable energy policy was made in June 2007 when the school changed over to Airtricity as our electricity provider. Renewable energy resources accounts for 89% of all resources used in electricity produced by Airtricity, Ireland’s number one Green-Renewable-Energy-Provider.

3. Reduced Water Consumption

In St. Laurence’s, we ensure all sinks have stoppers to ensure precious water is not flowing down the drain. All rooms display notices in sink-area reminding everyone to turn off taps. Rather than pay for bottled drinking water in our staff-room, we have engaged “Advanced Water Coolers” to fit a filter to our existing water supply.

4. Reduced Paper Consumption

Check out St. Laurence’s book-lists and you will notice a significant reduction as the school is committed to a library / lending system, reducing the cost to the environment as less and less books are purchased every year. We also text a parent frequently instead of sending home letters.

5. Reduced Car-Use

Walk the walk: 2006-2007 was a busy year for St. Laurence’s Green Committee who muscled in and achieved tremendous results in the area of "Travel" - reducing car-use to and from school and raising the awareness of the need for the same in the community at large. The Park and Stride initiative launched by the then Minister for the Environment, Mr. Dick Roche T.D. literally took legs and continues to attract huge number. This has had a knock-on affect where traffic congestion around the school is concerned, with a 20% reduction. Our "W.O.W." Walk on Wednesdays sees up to 50 children with accompanying adults take to the roads in all kinds of weather.

Cycling Workshops in 2007 gave 5th class children much enjoyment and practical skills and safety technique.

B. Reuse

1. Save the Trees

The afore-mentioned library/lending system where a book which hitherto served one individual is used year after year is very successful.
Children and adults are encouraged to use both sides of the paper.

2. Postage Stamps

We also collect used postage stamps which we present to the Guide Dogs Association on an annual basis.

3. Ringo

Our fifth class children annually take part in the Ringo Scheme taking their duties very seriously.

4. Junk-Art

Junk Art has always been a popular part of our art programme, and children are encouraged to collect items of a recyclable nature for all kinds of art projects throughout the year. One of the highlights of our calendar is the Wicklow County Council Christmas Decoration Competition which we have taken part in since its debut.

C. Recycle

1. Bin-busters

When it comes to recycling, no small credit is due to our “Bin-Busters” who have been known to begin their Friday “Bin-Busting” to the theme-tune of Ghost-Busters. This dedicated team check the three bins in all classrooms making sure that only paper, card and clear plastic is put in our large bin, only compostable waste is put into classroom compost bins (emptied on Fridays) and that only floor-sweepings and last resort rubbish goes into our small pedal bins.

They also oversee the collection of the milk-cartons which for hygiene purposes are binned separately. Being a domestic customer of Greenstar the school is entitled to a green-bin collection, where previously recyclable waste had to be transported to The Murrough Centre in Wicklow.

Green Flag - Our Achievements so far;

  • 2000-2002 - Green flag awarded for work done in the area of Waste - Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.

  • 2002-2004 - Green flag awarded for work done in the area of Energy.

  • 2004-2006 - Green flag awarded for work done in the area of Water - reduction of use.

  • 2006-2008 - Green flag awarded for work done in the area of Travel.

  • 2008-2010 - Green flag awarded for work done in the area of Green Homes.

  • 2010-2012 - Green flag award for work done in the area of Biodiversity

How can you help?

  • Join our Green Committee.

  • “Walk the Walk” - Join us on Wednesdays.

  • Car-pool - If you are interested in Car-Pooling and would like us to pass on your details to other interested parties in your area, e-mail your wish to be involved, your name, address and contact number and/or e-mail address for the attention of Triona at the school email address.

  • To support our Reduce, Re-use, Recycle, supply your child with re-usable lunch box and bottle.

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