Budding Green Champions

Little ones get all excited about recycling through Green for Hope @ Primary Schools

Issue: Mar 2012

Green for Hope @ Primary Schools is not just a school programme, it is a promotion of lifestyle change - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Green for Hope @ Primary Schools is not just a school programme, it is a promotion of lifestyle change - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Whenever seven-year-old Angeline Tan eats out with her family, she carries an empty plastic bag with her not to pack food home but to bring trash back home. She collects used aluminium cans , takes them home to wash them before bringing these cans to school. Her recycling efforts do not stop there. Tan is passionate about collecting used bottles and old newspapers as well, and constantly reminds her parents and relatives to do the same. Her enthusiasm has been inspiring and now, her entire family recycles their trash on a daily basis.

“I feel happy taking part in the recycling project because I can save the earth and I am excited and glad that my family is joining me in this meaningful activity,” said Tan.

Tan’s commitment to caring for the environment stems from what she learns in school. She goes to Loyang Primary school where everyone - staff, teachers, parents and even contract cleaners – is actively involved in environmental conservation. In 2011, Loyang Primary School was one of the 179 primary schools across Singapore which took part in Green for Hope @ Primary Schools.

Green for Hope @ Primary Schools is an annual effort by CapitaLand which combines two key corporate social responsibility objectives – caring for the community and caring for the environment. Under this programme, participating schools will receive S$2 donation from CapitaLand’s philanthropic arm, CapitaLand Hope Foundation, for every kilogramme of recyclable waste collected. To encourage greater participation, schools which collect more than the 5,000 kilogramme cap receive another S$1,000 with the top three schools receiving additional donations. The donations to the schools’ welfare fund will benefit the underprivileged students.

CapitaLand also organise staff volunteer road shows at selected schools to promote the message of “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”.

Green for Hope @ Primary Schools shows increased collection of recyclable waste every year
Green for Hope @ Primary Schools shows increased collection of recyclable waste every year

Green for Hope @ Primary Schools registered many firsts in 2011. Last year’s campaign saw more than 580,000 kilogrammes of recyclable waste collected, a good 20 per cent more than the previous year.
Overall, the amount of recyclable waste collected by schools have increased. 21 per cent of schools
(37 out of 179 schools) exceeded the maximum collection cap of 5,000 kilogrammes per school, up from 15 per cent in 2010.

Rallying the Whole School Community

For their efforts, Loyang Primary School was the school that showed the greatest improvement, having climbed from the 124th position in 2010 to the fourth position in 2011 in terms of the amount of recyclable waste collected. It had collected a total of 10,887 kilogrammes of recyclable waste.

“We started with project-based activities, modified them into school-wide initiatives and then gradually integrated them into our existing school programmes that involve the community such as Community Involvement Programme,” said Kum Han Wen, the teacher-in-charge of the school’s Green for Hope
@ Primary Schools efforts in 2011.

Students, teachers and parents worked together at Loyang Primary School to collect recyclable waste
Students, teachers and parents worked together at Loyang Primary School to collect recyclable waste

Loyang Primary School had a multi-pronged approach that included raising awareness through assembly lessons, letters to parents, rewarding efforts with recognition on the school websites, certificates for parents who joined in the recycling efforts; alongside other recycling programmes within the school.

They started their own Loyang Green Day on every Wednesday where the entire school brought recyclable waste from home and turned it into a competition. Primary Six students also went out into the community to collect recyclable waste. Others were asked to bring in old uniforms and textbooks to be recycled. At the end of the year, teachers cleaned out their rooms and work stations and sorted out the garbage for recycling.

Striving for a Better Record

A new Green Champion had also emerged in last year’s Green for Hope @ Primary Schools. Greenridge Primary School, clinched the top spot with a record-breaking 18,445 kilogrammes of recyclable waste.
Not only did the school better its previous year’s recycling efforts, it collected 2.4 times more than the
7,649 kilogrammes they collected in 2010. This is also the highest tonnage collected by a school since the inception of Green for Hope @ Primary Schools programme in 2008. In all, Greenridge Primary School raised a total of S$18,000 in 2011 for their needy pupils’ educational needs.

“It was a pleasant surprise for us. Our pupils were all excited when we announced that our school took top position. They felt proud of their achievement and have promised to work harder this year to sustain the top spot again,” said Arivalagan Rajangam, Subject Head of Character Education at Greenridge Primary School.

Greenridge Primary School topped the collection for Green for Hope @ Primary Schools in 2011 and broke the record for highest tonnage collected by a school since the inception of the programme
Greenridge Primary School topped the collection for Green for Hope @ Primary Schools in 2011 and broke the record for highest tonnage collected by a school since the inception of the programme

The school went out to the community to collect recyclable waste and appealed to parents to get involved. The parents took the mission to heart. Not only did they contribute waste from their homes, some even collected old newspapers from their workplace. They were also imaginative in their waste collection, going beyond the usual paper and clothing to include metal, plastic, tetra pak cartons and used cooking oil containers.

“My mother introduced me to a book on the environment. I was shocked at how our environment is being slowly destroyed by humans' negligent acts and I wanted to do my part to help slow down this damage,” said 10-year-old Chua Jun Yu.

Beyond changing behaviour, Greenridge Primary also set out to change the pupils’ mindsets from within.

“We collect can ring tabs which can be used to make prosthetic leg for amputees, and even organic food waste for vermi-composting in our school. We’ve linked the recycling efforts to our school values of being gracious, responsible and public-spirited,” said Rajangam.

Students from CHIJ Our Lady Queen of Peace not only recycle but also take part in conservation programmes
Students from CHIJ Our Lady Queen of Peace not only recycle but also take part in conservation programmes

First Time Success

For first-time participant, CHIJ Our Lady Queen of Peace, being new to Green for Hope @ Primary Schools 2011 did not stop them from exceeding the 5,000 kilogramme cap. They collected 5,045 kilogrammes of recyclable waste. But recycling is nothing new to this school and neither is a concern for the Earth.

“We have Wildlife Buddies in partnership with the Singapore Zoo, Ambassadors Outreach Programme in partnership with NParks, Outreach Programme in partnership with Canossa Convent Kindergarten, Tetra Pak Recycling Programme, Green Moral Badge Programme in partnership with North East CDC, to name a few. Our pupils go overseas to Taiwan and Japan to learn from their good environmental practices as well,” said Clare Lewis, Head of Science at CHIJ Our Lady Queen of Peace.

More than just the numbers, Green for Hope @ Primary Schools is creating increased awareness amongst our youngest and most impressionable. The project has sown the seeds of eco-consciousness and, hopefully, breeds a new generation of green champions for the future who cares for their needy classmates.

Comments
User Christine Teh
119.234.0.X | 2012-03-01 19:40:08
Nice photos. Good job kids! You did great! Our Green for Hope road shows for Primary Schools in 2011 were not held in vain.
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