The UK is set to become the first major country to reach “net zero” emissions by 2050. This commitment by Teresa May to completely eradicate carbon emissions is a bold one, but some say that the decision is too little, too late. Schools and businesses must act now. The education sector should take responsibility for their carbon emissions, working with the government to cut down their environments footprint. So, how can schools contribute to the 2050 zero carbon emissions target? Here are some steps to follow:
Invest in Renewable Energy
Established zero-emissions technology like wind and solar power are all rapidly growing. Schools need to become pro-active in investing in renewable energy, as they can be expected to use just as much electricity as any other business. Fitting solar panels onto the school roof or accessing energy from a nearby wind turbine could mean that schools are self-sufficient when it comes to energy, not having to rely on fossil fuel energy.
Additionally, it could help to educate children on the importance of being environmentally friendly, and they may begin to take the same lessons home with them and replicate it in their home lives. For example, this could inspire parents to switch energy suppliers for a more energy efficient company. This knock-on effect can only be positive for the planet.
Commit to Recycling
Arguably, schools should commit to recycling more than any other sector. Though lots of work is done on the computer, they still rely on paper for exams and projects. A school could print thousands of sheets of paper a day, wasting huge amounts of paper that are bound to eventually only be thrown away.
Many schools are starting to implement recycling schemes, encouraging the children to get involved with recycling everything from paper to plastics. This is because single use plastics are also an issue, even in schools. Plastic bottles, straws and other single use plastics are a serious concern when it comes to the environment.
Procure Sustainable Sourced Items
This could be as simple as buying sustainably sourced paper and stationary. Schools should begin to phase out certain items that can’t be recycled. For example, the increased use of mechanical pencils seems excessive when schools can go back to basics and use the more traditional type of pencil that’s completely void of plastic. If the school has a large supply chain, then they need to ensure that sustainability is fed right through from procurement to manufacturing their resources.
Ensure They’re as Energy Efficient as Possible
Schools should take measures to ensure they are operating as efficiently as they can when it comes to energy. Even if they don’t use renewable energy on site, they can still make an effort to seek out green energy suppliers for the buildings. Moreover, they should halt their energy use in the first place. Insulating walls and using energy efficient lightbulbs are simple steps that schools can take to minimise their environmental impact.