The Green Award for Environmental Achievement : Taunton School

We want to be the greenest school in the South West – a bold statement and a big ambition – but we are confident that we can do it and we are just getting started.

With concerns about plastic waste at an all-time high, this year we have become the first school in Somerset to go Zero to Landfill. By partnering up with Devon Contract Waste we aim to lead the way on sustainability and minimise our environmental impact. All waste collected is processed for recycling, with nothing ending up in landfill – residual waste is processed to generate energy. Approximately six tonnes of dry mixed recycling, which includes plastic, cardboard and paper, is collected each month. Plastics are turned into products such as fleeces, umbrellas, toys and car bumpers. Our students will visit the plant next term to see it in action. We plan to add food and confidential waste too and have a ban on glass already. Lee Glaser, Headmaster said: “Being a responsible and caring member of our wider community is a key element of our school values. We educate children to embrace a global outlook, and doing our bit to safeguard the planet for their future is something we take seriously.”

The Prep School already has a well-established Eco Leaders group who promote sustainability and aim to raise awareness of the intrinsic link with nature and our surroundings.

Henry Collins, a Year 8 Eco Leader said: “I think it is great that we are the first school to go zero to landfill. It is sad what happens to animals when they get caught up in plastic and we should all think about the consequences of throwing things away.”

Our Eco Leaders have planted an orchard of twelve juicing apple trees on the school grounds so they can bottle their own apple juice in the future and sell it for charity. Head of Science at TPS Tom Raven said: “This is part of a school eco initiative to show pupils the benefits of sourcing local produce to help reduce carbon footprints.”

The pupils featured on BBC Somerset radio, talking about waste and apples to encourage action from others.

We have set up a ‘Green Team’ made up of our Eco Leaders, Facilities manager, Estates manager, Prep School teachers and the Marketing team to drive forward our green agenda. Other initiatives we are involved in are:

• All produce used by the school’s catering team is sourced locally.
• We are creating an environmental policy over the Summer.
• We use a fabric first approach to any building work – choosing materials over technology.
• Our floodlights are changing to LEDs.
• All of our classrooms will have motion sensors.
• The school’s maintenance buggy’s are electric.
• We plan to have energy champions for each year/house.
• Our social media pages went green for a week to get the message out.

The aim of all of this is to set an example for the wider community to follow, encourage them to join in and together make a difference.

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