A year in the making, a morning of celebrating: our work with Edinburgh schools to cut waste!

On a sunny summer morning, eager children from Edinburgh schools and nurseries came together at the Holyrood Park Education Centre. They had come for the annual Changeworks' prize giving event to celebrate a year's hard work reducing waste. It's a reward for the schools and nurseries who have worked with us and signed up to the various competitions and services offered by our waste education team. Over seventy people attended this year making it our biggest yet!

As pupils and staff arrived they were greeted warmly by Jane at reception. Once all the name tags had been handed out it was into the main hall for a Bug Hunt! This year there was everything to hunt for as first prize was a Bike Station bike, for one lucky winner. As pupils raced around on the hunt for bugs (and learning things at the same time!), staff relaxed with a well deserved cuppa and a biscuit.

Waste reduction activities and competitions were many and varied. It wasn't easy to visit every activity, try each competition AND stuff your face with all the biscuits, fruit and juice on offer, but many tried!

Gus from Earth Calling had an interesting display of bugs and grubs to help the children meet some undergrowth life. If that left some children a bit squeamish then they had no chance with our 'Guess the Smell' competition – a chemically enhanced smell box which was very pongy! There was also a stall for making grass-head worms out of reused tights and pupils had the opportunity to make their very own recycled tin can planter.

Then, prize giving ceremony started! The tension in the room was electric as Kenneth and Joe announced the winners. Up first we had James from Craigroyston Primary who won the Smell competition. He correctly guessed that the smell was of a landfill site! Next up, the Corner House Day Nursery won the poster competition with a fantastic display. The Finish Your Food competition was won by Parsons Green who managed to reduce their food waste by a fantastically huge 72%!! The runner up was Juniper Green Private Nursery with a great big 60% reduction. Parsons Green received the prestigious Silly Sausage trophy and a £150 cheque.

Our Zero Waste Heroes competition was won by The Edinburgh Academy Junior School who managed to complete three of the missions and score a massive 16,000,000 points! They received a £200 cheque for all their hard efforts over the year.

Schools were invited to bring along samples of compost from their wormery or compost bin, to be judged on the day, all taken very seriously by our very own Judge Joe. The winners received the much desired apple core trophy and a £150 cheque. Not bad when the worms do most of the work! The Fort Early Years Centre won the wormery sample prize and Uni Tots Nursery won the best compost bin sample.
Lastly came the winner of the Bug Hunt competition/ Everyone held their breath as Kenneth and Joe announced that Niamh from St John's was the lucky winner and received the Bike Station voucher. Well done Niamh!

So, with all the prizes given out it was then time to say our farewells. We had a fantastic morning and it was great to see such enthusiasm from children as well as adults! The good news is all the competitions will be running again during the next school year. Thanks to The City of Edinburgh Council all workshops, events and resources can be brought to you in Edinburgh completely free of charge.

If you are a pupil and your school or nursery would like to join in the fun, ask your teacher to contact us for information about workshops, assemblies and competitions. It's easy to book a visit, email or call us on 0131 555 4010. Plenty of info on our website too.

- Joe, Jane, Kenneth and Evelyn in Changeworks' Waste Education team