Category Archives: Litter and waste

#GlobalCitizenship – Did you know electronic waste is exported from 1st world to 3rd world countries?

Millions of electronic goods:

mobile phones,

laptops, tablets,


digital cameras

and other electronic devices

from old fridges to electric toothbrushes

are being dumped illegally in developing countries.

Why does this happen?

In the 1990s, governments in the 1st world set up ways of ‘recycling electronic waste ‘ Many countries did not cope well with the large amount of e-waste they generated or with the hazards that were caused.

1st world countries began exporting the problem to developing countries where laws to protect workers and the environment are not as strong as in the 1st world.

These electronic goods made up of hundreds of different materials and containing toxic or poisonous substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and flame retardants.

Once in landfill, these toxic materials seep out into the environment, contaminating land, water and the air.

Devices are often dismantled and taken apart in primitive conditions. Those who work at these sites suffer frequent ill health.

Although it is legal to export discarded goods to poor countries if they can be reused or recycled, much is being sent to Africa or Asia under false pretences. Much is falsely classified as ‘second hand’ or ‘used’ good but really these are broken and beyond repair.

What do you think about this?

How can this be improved?

How can YOU help?


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Green Schools – A Message from the Committee

Christmas time ending Rubén Pérez Planillo via Compfight

Following on from the Green School’s Committee meeting on Tuesday:

  1. The committee would like to find out how many different nationalities are in our school and represent this information on a bar chart to be displayed on our notice board. A green school’s rep will go around the classes today with a sheet for all the class teachers to fill in.
  2. There is an A3 poster competition for all green schools. Children depict what they would like Ireland to look like in the year 2040. This could be a good activity to do on Friday afternoon. Having a discussion about what a more ‘green’ Ireland might look like would be helpful before they start the poster. Closing date is 27th March. Prizes include a tablet and €500 euro for the winning school. Send finished posters to Room 8 to be posted
  3. If everyone could have a bin and lunch monitor in their class to make sure the correct waste is being put into the correct bin. Please count how many children are bringing containers in their lunches instead of tin foil/ cling film. This doesn’t mean singling out children who have tin foil but instead praising those who have containers.

That’s all for now. Thank you all in advance

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Happy Christmas with Recycled Materials

For as long as we can remember, every year at this time, students make Christmas decorations for the Wicklow County Council competition. It is an annual event, that is much anticipated and greatly enjoyed. The decorations are made from recycled materials. All entries are on display in the hall, except for one which has gone on to Wicklow County Council. These Christmas decorations made from recycled materials are all so different and show great creativity and ingenuity. The children had great fun making them. Well done to all involved and many thanks to Ms.McNally who co-ordinated the competition.

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We are working towards our sixth green flag – Global Citizenship: Litter&Waste

We are working towards our sixth green flag:

Global Citizenship – Litter and Waste

Fall into Winter - Equinox to Solstice #13 - You Are Here Elvis Kennedy via Compfight


The aim of Green Schools is to increase students’ and participant awareness of environmental issues through classroom studies and to transfer this knowledge into positive environmental action in the school and also in the wider community.

Schools that have successfully completed all the elements of the programme are awarded the ‘Green Flag’. The award has to be renewed every two years. We have five Green flags so far and led by Ms. Saoirse Ryan and the Green Schools Committee, we are working towards our sixth.

Litter & Waste Management (2005)

Energy Awareness & Conservation (2007)

Water – Its Uses & Conservation (2009)

Sustainable Transport (2011)

Biodiversity (2014)

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From the Archives: What makes Greystones South Beach a Blue Flag Beach?

Ms.  Teehan’s 3rd class are going to do a project our local Blue Flag beach. We are looking forward to seeing what they find out.


Here are some interesting facts:

Beaches are awarded the Blue Flag based on the following:

1) Environmental Education and Information must be provided so that the community can learn what plants and wildlife can be seen in the area.

2) Water Quality – the water must clean with no waste or sewage.

3) Environmental Management – the beach must be litter-free with limited access to dogs and domestic animals. There must be good facilities to allow everyone to access the beach.

4) Safety and Services – there must be lifeguard on duty and first aid available.


Greystones South Beach

Greystones South Beach

All Blue Flags are awarded for one season at a time.

If the criteria are not fulfilled during the season or the conditions change, the Blue Flag may be withdrawn.

How can you help?

National Spring Clean with Tidy Towns

National Spring Clean with Tidy Towns


Useful Sites:


National Spring Clean with Tidy Towns of Greystones Beach

Green schools committee and Tidy towns day out at the beach!

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A collection of photos from our journey towards earning our Green Flag for Biodiversity.

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Celebrating ‘Less Waste Day’ – the Belgian story

Dear Irish green friends,

Last week was our ‘Zero Garbage Day’ ! Here are some pictures of what we did :

  • We talked about what happens to our garbage and how we can prevent it at school.
  • We put up posters on how to prevent waste/garbage.
  • We showed the trailer of ‘Midway’, a film by Chris Jordan. That made a lot of emotional impact, because we could see what garbage in the water can do to animals.
  • We made a power point presentation about your school St. Brigids and what you did on your ‘Eat local’ day.
  • We danced to our theme song ‘We doen het zelf wel/we’ll do it ourselves’. The lyrics tell us that we can do something about the problem ourselves.
  • Bizzy, our eco-mascot visited our little ones. He brought the garbage-teacher along = one of the teachers is wrapped in tape (the adhesive side on the outside). Bizzy told the toddlers to stick all the garbage they found in the playground onto this garbage-lady. He told everybody that he was really pleased when all garbage was in the bin and he asked what the toddlers can do to prevent a lot of garbage (no plastic or silver paper in the lunchbox, no cans and brigs but a drink bottle instead, no paper around cookies but the cookies in a little box, etc.) We already do this in our school, but every year we repeat the same things just to keep focused.
  • We sent a flyer home to the parents reminding them about tin foil, cans, plastic, etc.

During the next weeks we will draw attention again on how to avoid garbage and finding more sustainable solutions.

Best regards,

Joëlle Erkens

Gemeentelijke Basisschool Overijse

Please note: The green team are having a few technical problems!! Photographs to follow.

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Celebrating ‘Less Waste’ Day – the Irish story.

We had great fun celebrating our ‘less waste’ day. Reducing waste has been an ongoing theme in Saint Brigid’s for the last number of years.

We covered the following topics on what we do in the school to reduce waste:

  1. Green lunches (reusable lunch boxes and drinks bottles).
  2. Recycle Michael and Green Eileen.
  3. Green bins – we recycle paper, cardboard, plastic, stamps, batteries and mobile phones.
  4. We discussed how the library helps us to recycle books because we use a rental scheme. Students can also donate old or used books to the library.
  5. We recycle uniforms as older brothers and sisters pass them down to their younger siblings. We also have a second hand uniform sale at the end of the year.
  6. Our ‘lost & found’ bin is sent to the charity shop to be recycled if no one claims the clothes after a certain amount of time.
  7. We have Litter wardens and Recycle wardens to remind everyone to reduce, reuse and recycle.
  8. The school sends texts and emails to parents rather than sending out letters. Thus reducing the amount of paper we use.
  9. The office and teachers always try to use both sides of the paper when they need to print work out to cut down on the amount of paper used.
  10. Our Green schools blog informs all staff, students and parents of our green work without having to print out newsletters. Not only does this save paper but it means less photocopying.
  11. We talked about how to make things out of recycled materials. Emma made a robot from cardboard boxes. We made recycled bird feeders and insect homes from cartons and plastic bottles. Zac and his Dad made an insect home from an old press.
  12. The school is having a ‘Recycled Christmas Decorations’ competition in December.
  13. We also discussed how much wrapping paper is thrown away every year so we thought wrapping up a shoe box and reusing it every year would be a good idea.
  14. We are having a ‘Bikes for Africa’ Day where we will recycle our old and unused bikes and send them to children in Africa.
  15. We discussed how litter can affect wildlife and why we should be careful when disposing of waste.
  16. Our local pharmacist gave a talk to the senior classes on medication and how to dispose of it properly. He told us that medicines can get into the environment and affect the wildlife.
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A visit from our local Pharmacist!

code 004










Donal from Llyods pharmacy gave a talk to the two sixth classes on what medication is, how to take it, store it and dispose of it properly. He explained that it is importance to take medicines properly because improper use can harm you.

From a green point of view, it was very interesting to learn that medicines should not be flushed down the toilet as water treatment does not break down the drugs and they can stay in system. These drugs can then pollute the water and harm or kill wildlife. It’s also important not to throw unfinished prescription or over the counter medicines into your ordinary bin as they can end up in dumps, be eaten by wildlife or seep into the soil and contaminate the ground and water.

So what should we do to prevent all this happening and protect our environment? Donal explained that you can drop off any unfinished medicines into the pharmacy at any time and they will dispose of them carefully and safely. They send them to a specialised company that incinerates all the medicines so that no traces of the drugs are left. This is a free service which not only helps us but protects the environment too.

Thank you Donal for showing us another example of ‘in this world we are all linked’ and everything we do can affect our environment.

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What exactly does are Biodiversity Code mean?

The winning entry

The winning entry












Don’t let species go extinct, in this world we are all linked’.


The Green Schools committee had a meeting to discuss what exactly our Biodiversity code meant because we need to be able to explain to our classmates and our families what it is all about.

Rory said that ‘species’ means any kind of plant or animal. Examples of species we thought of were daffodil, tulip, fox, wolf, dog, ladybird, spider, etc.

Louie explained that ‘extinct‘ means wiped out. We tried to think of species that are under threat of extinction. Emma said Pandas, Julia said Ladybirds, Ed said Red Deer and Zac said Red Squirrels.

So what could be a threat to these species? A lot of the committee said that introduced species or non-native species were a threat because they were stronger and they ate the native’s species food or pushed them out of their habitats eg. Grey squirrels vs. red squirrels, Sika deer vs. Red deer.

Julia and Zac said that damage to a species habitat or home can be a threat. If you cut down trees or hedgerows you destroy their habitats and ecosystems.

We all agreed that pollution and litter were a big threat and we remembered the day we talked about Peanut the turtle. We also looked at how litter can end up in the sea and harm seals, whales, turtles and fish. But pollution and litter not only harms the plants and animals, it can destroy their habitats and ecosystems eg. pollution in lakes and rivers.

What other threats can you think of ?

So our next quest was to find out how we are all linked. Fiona explained all about food chains and food webs. She told us what would happen if for example bees became extinct and explained that losing bees would affect the  flowers and crops. This would mean less food for the animals and less food for us. This was one example of how we are all linked together.

Can you think of any others?

Our next discussion will be to see what we can do to help conserve biodiversity at home & at school, in our home town and county, in our country and worldwide!

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‘Eat local’ Day! (The Irish day)

The Green Team with locally grown fruit and vegetables.

The Green Team with locally grown fruit and vegetables.













Our Belgian friends in Overijse suggested that we join them in celebrating International Eat Local Day on Wednesday 16th October and we were delighted to take part.

It was all about reducing food miles and our carbon footprint, eating locally grown fruit and vegetables and produce in season.

The food we buy in the supermarket often travels a lot of miles/kilometers to get to the shelves so by eating local food, we can help to reduce the CO2 produced during transport and in doing so help the environment.

We had beetroot, scallions, carrots, potatoes and leeks from the School vegetable garden.

The Happy Pear, our local organic fruit and veg shop, donated fruit and vegetables that were grown locally in County Wicklow – strawberries, tomatoes, chillies, apples, cooking apples and pears.

Supervalu, our local Irish supermarket, donated Irish-grown potatoes, courgettes, butternut squash and kale.

We compared the food miles, packaging, transport and energy used to get a banana from Costa Rica versus beetroot from our school garden, apples from Delgany (3km away) and a butternut squash from Ireland.

We look forward to seeing how the School in Overijse got on with their day.

A big thank you to the Happy Pear and Supervalu for all their help.

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Water Box Presentation!

St. Brigid’s was chosen as the first school in Ireland to be presented with a Water Box from Veolia, one of the world’s leading water management companies.

A team from Veolia Water Ireland and Greystones Tidy Towns visited Ms. Heneghan’s 5th class on Tuesday 15th October.

Jan taught us all about water and its properties and told us how their Water Waste Treatment plant in Greystones cleans dirty water and sends it out to sea. This prevents water pollution and not only helps all the sealife but helps our environment too.

Guy demonstrated the Water box and with the help of a video showed us what experiments we could do ourselves using all the equipment in the box.

Thank you very much Veolia and Greystones Tidy Towns!

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Award winning Animation made from recyclable material

‘Bog Standard’, a short environmental animation from the Pure Wicked
Training Programme, won Best Film in the Under 18’s Category at the
Blackrock Animation Film Festival on Saturday night (12th October).

Bog Standard tells the story of business man Shady Tony and his
unfortunate awaking of an angry ancient bog body when Shady and his crew
are breaking ground for a new landfill site.  Unhappy with the intrusion
on his ancient slumber Bog Man takes matters into his own hands and
wreaks havoc and revenge.

Not only does the short film Bog Standard focus on important
environmental issues, the characters and landscapes that feature in the
animation were all created from recycled materials, from plasticine,
cardboard, plastic, tinfoil, fabric, old sandpaper, bin bags and lots of
other recycled material.

To view  ‘Bog Standard’, and other Pure Animations logo on to;

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The story of Peanut the Turtle (or how litter affects our wildlife).

Peanut’s Story

This is Peanut the turtle. She is called Peanut because of the shape her shell grew into after she got caught in a plastic ring.

When she was a small turtle, she got the ring stuck on her shell. She couldn’t get it off, and over time, the majority of her shell grew, but the area around the ring could not grow. Peanut’s shell protected her body so she survived but some of her organs don’t function properly.

She was found in 1993 in Missouri and taken to a zoo in St. Louis where the six-pack ring was removed. Today she is in the care of the Missouri Department of Conservation, and is doing well.

Peanut’s story reminds us to dispose of our litter carefully so that we can protect our wildlife and our environment.

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Our New Green School Wardens!












Our new Wardens look after the following areas in our school:

  • Compost – Adam and Nadine check that the compost bins contain no litter and empty the class compost bins into the big compost.
  • Litter  – Zac and Ed help ensure that the school grounds are free from litter and show students where to put their waste.
  • Water – Sive and Jack remind all the classes to turn off the taps and not to waste water.
  • Energy – Erin-Jade and Julia’s job is to get everyone to turn off lights or electrical equipment when they are finished with them.
  • Travel – walk or cycle to school every day which is why they are our travel wardens.
  • Garden -Rita, Keelin, Rory and Jack are our green fingered wardens. They look after the garden, pulling up weeds and watering it.
  • BirdsHannah, Aobha and Heather make sure the bird feeders are full and that the bird tables are clear of stones.
  • Recycling – Alex and Daire remind everyone to recycle plastic, paper and cans.
  • Insects – Emma and Abi check the Insect homes and let us know what they find.
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Big savings from all the Green Schools!



Here is the latest news from An Taisce  on how Green schools all over Ireland have made a difference through conserving waste, energy, water & travel.

Congratulations to all the schools that have helped make Ireland a greener place. Well done!


2012-2013 School Year Results for Green-Schools: 

·         Total Reduction of waste to landfill – 11,023 tonnes
·         Average reduction of waste to landfill – 45%
·         Per capita per year reduction – 18.5kg

Energy (Electricity) 
·         Total Reduction of electricity consumption – 23,571,551 units (kWh)
·         Average reduction in electricity consumption -17%
·         Per capita per year reduction – 52.58 units (kWh)

Energy (Gas)
·         Total Reduction of gas consumption – 3,908,000 units (kWh)
·         Average reduction in electricity consumption -13.4%
·         Per capita per year reduction – 87.2 units (kWh)

Energy (Oil)
·         Total Reduction of Oil consumption – 1,599,437 litres
·         Average reduction in Oil consumption -1.6%
·         Per capita per year reduction – 3.96 litres

·         Total Reduction of water consumption – 292,191,000 litres
·         Average reduction in water consumption – 38%
·         Per capita per year reduction – 1163.11 litres

·         18,000 less students coming to school by car per day
·         Extra 9,575 students walking instead of being driven to school per day
·         966,500 litres of fuel saved.

Well done to all of those schools who worked so hard on their Green-Schools programme and achieved these great results. Big savings like this are because of small changes you have made around your school: every light you’ve switched off, every can you’ve recycled and every kilometre you walked have really made a difference!

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Make your lunch green!













As part of our Green Schools programme we want to reduce litter and waste at our school. So don’t  forget to

  • Use reusable lunch boxes and drinks bottles.
  • Put any fruit skins, cores, etc in the compost bins
  • Recycle any plastic bottles, cans, cardboard or paper
  • Clean up any litter in the yard
  • Take home any rubbish

Enjoy your lunch! 

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Greystones South Beach gets a Blue Flag!














The Blue flag is an international award for beach excellence which is operated in Ireland by An Taisce-The National Trust for Ireland on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).

The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised eco-labels. It is presented to beaches which have excellent water quality and which achieve high standards across a wide set of criteria relating to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and beach management.

County Wicklow received three Blue Flags this year for its beaches at Greystones South Beach, Brittas Bay North and Brittas Bay South.

Well done to all who helped keep our South beach clean!

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It’s World Oceans Day













People all over the world are making a promise for the ocean to help keep our oceans clean.

Here are a few things people are doing:

  • I promise to bring reusable bags to the grocery store
  • I promise to get a reusable water bottle
  • I promise to shop a thrift store first instead of buying new
  • I promise to take shorter showers.
  • I promise to take public transportation to school/work once a week.
  • I promise to only eat sustainably harvested seafood.
  • I promise to unplug my chargers when I’m not using them.
  • I promise to shut off all the lights and the heat or A/C when I leave my house.
  • I promise to participate in a litter clean-up.
  • I promise to not use toxic pesticides on my lawn.


What do you promise to do to help our oceans today?

For more information go to



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Theme of Recycling: Resources: Adventures of a Cardboard Box

Even though we are working on our Biodiversity Flag,

that doesn’t mean that we forget about the other themes.

The first flag we got was about Litter and Waste.

We learned a lot about recycling at that time

and since.


Here are two videos on Vimeo

about recycling that I think you will enjoy.

Both videos are about recycling cardboard boxes.

Cardboard Box
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Douglas Porter via Compfight

Both feature boys of eight or nine years of age.

The first one, is fictional

and the second one really happened.

Which is your favourite?

The Adventure of A Cardboard Box

How many ways does the hero in this video

use the box?

The 2nd video is about this boy.

His name is Caine.
Caine's Arcade at the Exploratorium
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Exploratorium via Compfight

Caine’s Arcade

Did you ever make anything out of a cardboard box?

If you want to know what happened next, take a look at
Caine’s Arcade 2

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ECO-UNESCO People’s Choice Award for 4th Class, Room 11 – Improving the Environment

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee via Compfight

At an event organised by ECO-UNESCO

showcasing top projects about improving the environment,

Miss O’Malley’s 4th class Room 11 has won

The People’s Choice Award.


After being selected from almost 4,000 young people

at the regional finals in March,

70 groups presented their projects

in the Mansion House in Dublin

at a  special ceremony attended by

the President, Michael D. Higgins.


Here is a link to 4th Class Room 11’s prizewinning project.

Well done Ms O Malley's class


Congratulations and Well Done!

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