Elizabeth College is delighted that its Eco Team has made considerable progress on environmentally friendly initiatives at school since its inception in 2018. The team is now seeking to build on the momentum created around COP26 as an opportunity to take further action, find out more together as a school community, and encourage individual and collective choices that will have a positive long-term impact.
Eco work at Elizabeth College began to have more focus and purpose in 2018, when the school’s Eco Team was founded. In the time since the team was established ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’ continue to be key, and ongoing education on how we can all do more to reduce single use plastics, and reduce the need for recycling in the first place remains essential.
Projects that have been introduced by the Eco Team, who meet twice a term, include: the Year 9 and Year 10 Conservation Group who has been involved in the removal of more than 20 tonnes of sour fig from Guernsey’s coastline; 50 litres of food waste a week is now reused in the school’s own allotment as compost; the Refectory benefits from the produce harvested at the allotment and food grown by the students has been served in school lunches; students regularly pick marine litter from local beaches; and Eco Day has become a popular annual event at College.
Student and staff voices on Eco Team matters are vitally important and they are regularly consulted on specific projects and encouraged to lead new initiatives. Students in the Eco Team are currently involved in discussions regarding the construction of additional bike racks, to accommodate the ever-growing number of students cycling to school.
Sharka Lee, Eco Team Lead at Elizabeth College
Elizabeth College has made an important commitment towards environmental sustainability by becoming the first school in Guernsey to partner with ESI Monitor and use their environmental operations framework, which enables businesses to measure, manage, and minimise their environmental impact.
The partnership has been made possible by the generous sponsorship of Guernsey law firm, Carey Olsen.
By partnering with ESI Monitor Elizabeth College will be able to start monitoring more complex measures of the College’s environmental impact so targets to reduce negative and increase positive impact on the environment can be set. This new partnership will help encourage an even greater awareness of environmental issues and solutions to students and staff at Elizabeth College.
To find out more about ESI click here.
Some pertinent statistics include in 2019, Elizabeth College sold approx. 5,000 bottles of water which reduced to 35 bottles in 2020, and zero in 2021, following the introduction of more water stations around the campus, and students and staff each bringing to school their own reusable water bottle. In 2019 Elizabeth College purchased 5800 plastic sandwich packs, however in 2020, another step to achieving sustainability goals was to switch to packaging from Vegware, a plant-based compostable foodservice company. In addition to being used in the school Refectory, Vegware packing has facilitated Elizabeth College being able to maintain its eco ethos at various off-site activities. The Refectory team catered for hundreds of students at Sports Day at Memorial Field, without any single use plastics.
The Eco Team’s achievements include:
- Engaging environmentally focused speakers to inspire students. Recent speakers include Prof. Richard Jardine from Imperial College, Becky Ogier and Sarah Allez from La Societe Guernesiaise and Francis Russel from the States of Guernsey.
- In addition to the Refectory peelings, Elizabeth College reuses sawdust from the Design & Technology Department, shredded paper from Reprographics, grass cuttings from the College Grounds Team, tea bags and fruit peelings from the Staff Common Room, and vraic from Fort George in the College allotment.
- Elizabeth College has started to compost green waste on the premises with a new compost area by the Science block.
- Year 7 students are involved in the regular maintenance of the school’s pollinator patches. Elizabeth College is part of the group of organisations providing “pollinator corridors” across Guernsey.