It is not every day that a school’s achievements are heard about in the corridors of power but that is exactly what happened in the case of Parrs Wood High School’s efforts to improve its education recycling and waste management scheme.
The school is one of a handful of schools in the UK to be selected as successful entrants in this year’s House of Commons Speaker’s School Council Awards when its Waste Less project was highly commended in the 16-19 year-old category. It is the fact that the Parrs Wood Student C02 Committee not only influenced but also helped to drive the school’s waste management and recycling programme that makes it all the more remarkable.
It was exactly two years ago that the pupils at Parrs Wood first met with B&M Waste Services – one of the North West’s leading waste management companies – to assess how they could work together to improve the school’s recycling and waste management programme, maximise energy efficiency and minimise costs related to waste.
Parrs Wood is the largest Local Authority maintained state school in Greater Manchester and the fourth largest in the UK. With nearly 1,900 students, 300 staff and 300 visitors a day from the local community using its facilities, the school is more like a village campus. Parrs Wood boasts a significant sporting community with both curricular and community events hosted after school and at weekends 360 days of the year. With such a large and complex community, there is a necessity to ensure that high quality waste management and sanitary procedures are in place. The school was looking to work with a company that could provide a total waste management solution along with innovative ideas to reduce the school’s carbon footprint.
Previously all waste was going to landfill with no recycling facilities in operation. B&M Waste Services carried out a full audit and implemented a school-wide strategy which included:
• 25 internal recycling bins – for recyclable waste such as cans, bottles, paper and cardboard;
• Two general waste Front End Loader (FEL) containers and one recyclable FEL container;
• Internal food recycling bins for all canteen and food technology waste;
• A collection service for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) waste, such as computers, TVs and fridges, which is all now recycled;
• A skip for metals – the school now gets a rebate for its chosen charity Reuben’s Retreat for all recycled metal.
Through its commitment to education, as well as providing first-class services, B&M Waste Services aimed to engender a cultural change which would see both students and staff embrace an environmentally friendly approach to waste.
This proved successful as the school CO2 Committee – made up of a group of eco-conscious sixth formers – helped spread the recycling message. B&M Waste Services has worked alongside the committee to educate students through presentations, posters and stickers throughout the school about the benefits of recycling. B&M is also working with Parrs Wood to plant a significant number of trees on-site, offsetting the school’s carbon emissions and creating a green area for students and staff to enjoy the environment.
The C02 Committee, in partnership with B&M Waste Services, is saving more than 400 tonnes of C02 per year through its work, putting the school 10 years ahead of national carbon reduction targets.
Parrs Wood is now being used as the focus of a campaign by the Department for Education to encourage other schools to make similar savings. The school’s initial recycling figures were 0% and over the course of the last two years this has continuously improved to more than 85%.
Parrs Wood Facilities Manager Tony Way said: “Great strides have been made to educate our students and staff about recycling and waste management as a whole. The driver for that has been the partnership which has grown successfully between the school and B&M. I would unreservedly recommend the company’s ethos and their innovative ideas which have resulted in our C02 Committee taking control and advertising different schemes across the school to get the message across that recycling is the way forward. “B&M is a professional company that comes to the school site on my terms; which has the ISO accreditation along with a safety vehicle record supported by a modern energy saving fleet.”
In addition to the House of Commons Speaker’s commendation, the Government’s School Minister David Laws recently congratulated the school on being in a list of a hundred schools which have most improved in the country through sustained improvement in exam results. In addition to this, in its most recent Ofsted inspection the school was praised for its clean and safe environment.
Dave Curtis, a Director of B&M Waste Services, said: “It has been a pleasure to partner with the pupils and staff at Parrs Wood High School. The school has rightly been congratulated by the Department for Education for its carbon reductions, an achievement that is a shining example of what can be achieved by schools across the UK.”
Going forward, the school’s remaining residual waste will be converted to Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) by utilising B&M’s recently opened £1million RDF facility in Trafford Park.
B&M will also be introducing its secure shredding service to Parrs Wood ensuring that all confidential materials are professionally destroyed, helping the school to meet its responsibilities under the Data Protection Act.