Working with schools is a key part of the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste Plan. Portobello High is one of several schools that has worked with us to develop a successful action plan. It was the third school in Scotland to be awarded five Green Flags under the Eco Schools accreditation programme, representing 10 years of awareness raising and waste management.

We help Portobello High School to maintain that high standard.

Sophie Bigg, Eco Schools Co-ordinator, Portobello High School, says:

“Changeworks has been a huge help to us over the years. They are so knowledgeable and have great ideas for raising awareness – and they are so encouraging.

“We want to recycle more and they are really spurring us on to do so, coming to us with options.”

Make Waste History Summit

When we approached Portobello High to host a Make Waste History summit, Sophie jumped at the opportunity. “It’s a great way to raise awareness and to empower the students to take action.”

A Make Waste History summit features workshops, guest speakers and innovative group activities such as a Trash Fashion Show. It is a day-long event, which students from neighbouring schools are invited to attend. The focus is on sharing best practice and inspiring action.

“Pupils from Portobello hosted one of the workshops. It was a great opportunity for them to showcase what they’ve learned and share tips they have been given on reducing paper in schools,” Sophie reports.

“Clearly the workshop format is an effective approach – you can involve more students and they are generally more engaged. Having an outside organisation like Changeworks involved really works to get the message across.”

Lose the litter project

Portobello High was also one of five schools that participated in our Lose the Litter project, designed to raise awareness of litter in and around schools and pilot ways to tackle it.

Run over a five-month period, Lose the Litter included a specially commissioned drama, assignments, action planning, litter prevention work and social reporting workshops.

“Social reporting helps us find ways to share what we’ve done with the rest of the school,” explains Sophie. “With a large school of 1,300 pupils it can be difficult to keep everyone up to date on our activities, but we work hard to tell people what we’re doing. We have a blog, and we also sometimes use the school’s homepage as well as the offline notice boards around the school. Social reporting is an important part of our strategy as it helps us to spread the message.”

Schools that participated in Lose the Litter competed to produce action plans which would reduce litter in and around their school. On this occasion, the first prize of £1,000 was shared jointly by Portobello and Queensferry High Schools.

“Projects like Lose the Litter are a great way for the school and the wider community to work together and get involved in making real changes,” Sophie concludes.

“When it comes to raising awareness in schools and communities, it really is essential to have organisations like Changeworks.”

Sophie Bigg, Eco Schools Co-ordinator, Portobello High School

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