Edinburgh schools celebrate less waste

The sun shone brightly on the beautiful surroundings of the Holyrood Park Education Centre as Changeworks’ Waste Education Team held their annual end of year Celebratory Event for primary and nursery schools recently. The event marked the end of a series of waste reduction activities the schools had participated in throughout the year.

Heidi and Joe, Changeworks’ Waste Education Officers, welcomed children from Nari Kallyan Shango Childcare Facility, Corner House Day Nurseries from both Spylaw Road and South Gillsland Road and Summerside Kindergarten.

Nursery and primary schools from across Edinburgh were invited to attend a morning of fun activities and a visit from wildlife educators, Earth Calling, who brought along a variety of bugs and beasties for children to look at. Some children were even brave enough to have snails crawling on their noses!

The theme for the day was ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’

The theme for the day was ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’

The theme for the day was ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ and the activities were all about reusing materials that could also be recycled. Children were able to turn old CD’s into sparkly bird scarers for the vegetable garden and large plastic bottles were transformed into mini greenhouses planted up with beans and sunflowers. Some children were also very busy making other plastic bottles into flowers for their nursery garden. Heidi and Joe were very keen that all the refreshments were eaten and that no food waste was left!

Making bird scarers

Making bird scarers

Turning plastic bottles into mini greenhouses

Turning plastic bottles into mini greenhouses

Making flowers from plastic bottles

Making flowers from plastic bottles

Awards and trophies were given in recognition of the hard work by pupils and teachers to tackle waste in their school during the previous year:

‘Finish your Food’ trophy and £100 prize

Wardie Primary School was awarded the trophy and £100 prize for a fantastic reduction of 60% in their food waste.

In second place was St Ninians’ Primary School with a 57% reduction in their food waste.

‘What Rot!’ trophy and prize

Corner House Spylaw was awarded the trophy and £100 prize for the best compost sample.

Poster competition

Corner House Spylaw won a £25 DIY voucher for a brilliant poster all about the environmental work they had done at the nursery over the past year, with lots of children’s drawings and comments.

Corner House South Gillsland Road came second and won a bird feeder and bird seed.

Scavenger hunt

Jamie from Corner House Nursery won the Scavenger Hunt and was awarded a DIY gift card in the form of mini watering can.

Well done to all the schools who took part! Keep up the good work!

The Waste Education Team (L-R: Jane, Joe and Heidi)

The Waste Education Team (L-R: Jane, Joe and Heidi)

Changeworks Waste Education services are available to early years, primary and secondary schools in Edinburgh and are funded by the City of Edinburgh Council. If you would like your school to take part in the 2014-15 school term of interactive, curriculum linked activities, email wasteeducation@changeworks.org.uk or call 0131 555 4010 and ask to speak to me, Heidi Docherty, or my colleague Joe Alves in the Waste Education team.

Let’s work together to inspire Scotland’s young people to live, work and play sustainably!

-       Heidi

Island hopping to meet our customers

Brian Barker, Changeworks’ Home Energy and Partnership Liaison Officer

Brian Barker, Changeworks’ Home Energy and Partnership Liaison Officer

Our Argyll and Bute-based Home Energy and Partnership Liaison Officer Brian Barker reports on his short but epic trips last month to the islands of Jura and Tiree to provide in-home advice:

I made three home visits to customers: two on Tiree and one on Jura. All three properties were G rated for energy efficiency, my ‘worst’ week since I started in terms of energy efficiency standards. They are a typical example of the condition of housing in remote areas and how difficult it is to improve their energy efficiency because of difficulties with access and costs of materials.

I flew to Tiree – avoiding 10 hours of travel time by ferry which also allowed me more time to make the visits and avoid an overnight stay. The properties were a 1920s concrete house – built to a price rather than a standard (as the owner described it to me) – and an old church going through conversion. The plane popped in to Coll airport en route.

The flight over Tiree

The flight over Tiree

I hired a boat to get to Jura to visit an off-grid property. This avoided around 12 hours of travel – which would have taken 2 days by public transport!

The boat Brian hired

The boat Brian hired

The types of visits and places I end up are pretty remote and wild with plenty of wildlife, including white tailed sea eagles. There have even been instances of wind turbines disappearing in winter gales. This environment, stunning though it is, offers daily challenges and additional costs, meaning people are more likely to be in fuel poverty.

Stunning scenery on Tiree

Stunning scenery on Tiree

People off-grid often face transport issues: if you can’t get diesel delivered to top up your generator, you need to decant and transport the diesel yourself in 50 litre cans, 500 litres at a time, from a point that can be miles from home.

So, the folk that we’re visiting are the ones that really need our help and support. For them, because of their remote location, everything is more expensive and harder to get to. Having a service that comes out to them can make a real difference to their lives.

I need to make sure advice is right for each customer. I look at all sorts of solutions that can be adopted, helping them work out which combination is best for them. There’s no magic formula, it’s a complicated puzzle and it’s my job to help them figure out the best combination of energy solutions for their home.

- Brian

If you, or someone you know, would like energy efficiency advice or a renewables home visit call the Home Energy Scotland advice centre on 0808 808 2282.