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Meet the #EWWRAwards Finalists: Green cleaning at St Fintan's School

The EWWR Awards finalists have been announced! In each category, the Jury has selected their top 3 finalists . The winners will be revealed on 15 May in Brussels during the EWWR Awards Ceremony. In the days and weeks to come, we will introduce you the nominees one by one. Today, we would like you to present you the action organised by St Fintan’s School in Dublin, Ireland, which undertook a “Green Cleaning” campaign at part of EWWR 2018. St Fintan’s is a finalist in the Educational establishment category at the EWWR Awards.

Students at the “Green Cleaning” work station in St Fintan’s School
Students at the “Green Cleaning” work station in St Fintan’s School

What did your action consist of?

Fintan’s National School participated in making “Green Cleaning” products during the EWWR. We introduced the project at the beginning of the school term [September], explaining that we planned to make our own cleaning products with non-hazardous ingredients and, to also reduce our waste, we would repurpose empty containers.

We asked the students to begin collecting containers for the month of October, as in Ireland this is “Reuse Month”, which is a National Campaign run by the Regional Waste Management Offices. The non-hazardous ingredients required were purchased from a “Minimal Waste Grocery Store”.

We communicated to parents via a WhatsApp group; the pupils made posters, which were displayed on the worktops and the hallways. We borrowed equipment, such as protective eye-wear, science coats, gloves and funnels, from the science class of a local secondary school. This made it a fun, dress-up event and generated a lot of interest and questions.

During the EWWR, a workstation was set up in the school corridor, where the children conducted the project with the aid of the parents who volunteered to assist. All pupils in the school who passed the project area were amused by the workshop and all the equipment involved.

The finished products were tested in the classroom by the students and they had the opportunity to take products home to introduce “Green Cleaning” into their homes. Ingredients used included: lemons, white vinegar, essential oils, baking soda, citric acid and washing up liquid. This created a long lasting fun and educational memory, children learned about the ingredients, the effects when combined and how getting back to old traditional ways can be relatively easy.

How did you come up with the idea?

Cleaning products have “Warning & Hazard” signs. We felt that while being clean was important; safety and nature were just as critical. We had previously seen that one of our County Councils had made available a range of six stickers that included the ingredients and directions to make green cleaning products. We thought it would be a wonderful way to introduce a green cleaning and waste reduction campaign to our school.

Why is waste reduction important for you and your organisation?

The aim of the project was to increase awareness about waste reduction, reuse and the dangers of unnecessary, potentially hazardous cleaning products. The ultimate objective was that the children, along with their parents, would be empowered to create change within their homes and that they would become more aware of how much waste we produce, how we can easily embrace reuse and understand the waste hierarchy.

Where can people reach you if they have questions?

They can email us at info@stfintansns.ie.

If you would like to make your own cleaning products you can find the instructional videos that we used here.

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