Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Earth Day activities in the Primary School

Image result for earth day 2019 protect our species



On Monday 22 April, students in the Primary School spent time reflecting on the importance of Earth Day and considering action that they can take to 'protect our species.' 


Students in Grade 1 watched a video and then thought of actions that they can take to help take care of the Earth.



In Grade 2, students reflected on small steps that they are taking to help our planet.



To link with their current Poetry unit in Writing Workshop, Grade 3 students wrote poems about endangered species.




Students in Grade 4 researched endangered species and shared their findings in a voice recording on Seesaw. Please click the link to listen:

Eco Rangers Litter Pick


Working hard to keep our campus clean

Our Junior School Eco Rangers group has started doing regular litter picks along the drive into the campus. Sadly, the grass verge regularly seems to attract all sorts of rubbish so it was time for a tidy up!

The Eco Rangers


Once a month, on Wednesday lunchtimes, the Eco Rangers spend 25 minutes picking up the trash using tongs. It really is amazing what we have found so far!

What we collected in just 25 minutes!

The main rubbish seems to be cigarette butts and plastic wrappers. It could be members of our community dropping these items, or it could be people from outside - the driveway is, after all, a public road. 

Please remember to dispose of your rubbish in the proper bins and be mindful as you go around the campus - let's aim to keep it clean and tidy!

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

The War on Waste - Updates from the frontline!

Actually ignore that headline. Although we use them all the time and our work towards zero waste really does feel like a losing battle at times, I think we should stop using military metaphors in a school devoted to peace-building. The more we think and talk about things as a fight then the more likely we are to get a fightback! We are trying to build more positive systems for a better world, not aggressively smash old much as we might feel we need to. So here are some updates on our success and some challenges, sorry new opportunities for progress that we need some help with.

Re-usables replace disposables :)
Since August our Cup for Life Scheme and encouragement to BYO has now saved over 100,000 disposable bio-plastic and paper cups from incineration. By September this year it will be nearly a quarter of a million - that’s a reduction of about 2.5 tonnes of garbage leaving the campus per year! This bold decision to remove disposable cups by our Operations Department and Sodexo (after great campaigning and proven trials in re-use systems by our student environmental groups and parent organisers) has lead to this staggering achievement. Thanks to all our community for embracing our work towards zero-waste…look what you achieved!

Packaged drinks on the increase :(
Our recycling systems are struggling to cope
with the increase in packaged drinks
Our pride at this success should be somewhat tempered by the big increase in sales of packaged drinks for those not yet in the BYO habit. Juice and Milo cartons, cans and plastic bottled drinks such as Yakult remain the ‘convenient’ choice at our cafes. So even though our recycling rates for cartons are up to a remarkably high 50% at Dover thanks to the efforts of the Green Campus team  - they recycled a record 2000 cartons last week -   we now lose about about the same amount a week to the incinerator. And of course the plastic straws cannot be recycled and these and their plastic wrapping is the most likely to be blown away as litter into our gardens and drains. Our Eco-Rangers found this in a recent survey: 

15 mins - 131 straw wrappers on the ground.

Ironically the fact that people see the cartons as recyclable means they buy more, especially as we have removed disposable cups as alternatives this year. Unfortunately Green Campus team is now struggling to cope with the increased volume and we are worried too that our fantastic recycling partner the Buddha Tzu Chi Foundation, will not be able to process all these cartons, especially with the crackdown on importing recycling waste in Asia.  While we are working with Sodexo to phase most of these packaged drinks out soon, we need to spread the message that REDUCE and RE-USE is always preferable to recycle. It takes a lot of energy to recycle any packaging. It takes almost zero-energy to bring your own cup. 

More waste from food deliveries :(
All headed for the incinerator....and our atmosphere.
The rising trend in use of food delivery services is countering our community’s efforts toward zero waste. Statistics collected by LEAF GC show as many as 25 motorbikes per day waiting at the guardhouse with multiple orders and all in packaging which cannot be recycled (it’s too contaminated by oils and sugar). Yes, this is all heading for the incinerator.  These companies seem more concerned about grabbing our growing market than they do about the waste: Their profit, our problem…..they’re loving’ it!  


So here’s the message we need to send out to the community: 

Well done on all your efforts so far..we should be proud of our progress in this, Singapore’s Year Toward Zero Waste. Let’s secure this success!

Cut the Cartons, Ditch the Deliveroo.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Zero-Waste Shopping comes to UWCSEA!

Here's Lea Salim (Grade 9) our zero-waste champion at Dover campus, at the first trial of her pop-up zero-waste store in partnership with local social enterprise Unpackt. Parents and teachers were able to collect some of their weekly shop in their own containers, drastically reducing the plastic packaging that would normally be thrown away. Watch this space for our next pop-up store on Thursday 14th February.

Well done Lea for getting this great idea off the ground and many thanks to Florence and Jeff at Unpackt for supporting us and spearheading Zero-waste shopping in Singapore!

Joe McWilliams, Environmental Service

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Eco Rangers' New Year's Sustainable Resolutions


To start the new year off in an eco-friendly way, 

here are the Eco Rangers' top tips for a more sustainable 2019:







"We can change the world and make it a better place. 

It is in your hands to make a difference." 

Nelson Mandela

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Reusable Party Packs in the Junior School


After a successful trial in Grade 2 last year, this term the Eco Rangers launched the Reusable Party Packs in Grade 3. 

At UWCSEA, we are always looking for ways to avoid single-use, throw-away plastics so it makes perfect sense for each class to have a pack of cups and plates that they can use... and reuse! 


The Eco Rangers sorted and delivered the class packs and gave presentations to each class explaining why we are moving towards reusable containers. The classes were very excited to get their own matching sets, each containing 24 plastic cups and plates.

Milana, Fiona and Yui, presenting to 3LeD

Gabriel, Aiden and Vera with 3LFe

Kanav and Luke presenting to 3CWi.

Aiden, Vera and Gabriel, showing Mrs Ryan her new class set.

Milana, Fiona and Yui sharing with Mrs Adcock's class.

The Reusable Party Packs can be used whenever the children are sharing food at school: end of term parties, birthday celebrations, bake sales etc. They are also available for parents and staff to borrow over the weekends and in the holidays. Our aim is to avoid buying single-use, disposable party containers, so please do let your child's teacher know if you would like to borrow the class set! 

It's been a great success over the last few weeks, with 3LFe using their pack for a birthday celebration and 3LeA for their 'Mini UN Food Festival.' 

Mrs Daniels used her set to serve popcorn at the Bali Bridges Bake Sale and Miss Willis's class is planning to use their party pack at their end of term Christmas party. 

After such a great start, we will be continuing the initiative throughout the Junior School: 

Grade 4 will be next!