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Educational and Private Sector Alliance Launches Zero Waste Schools

Educational and Private Sector Alliance Launches Zero Waste Schools

OECS Media Release

April 2, 2024 — A powerful alliance of schools, clubs, and businesses in Dominica has unveiled a bold Zero Waste Schools Program, marking a significant stride towards sustainable waste management practices and environmental education across the island. This initiative, born under the Recycle OECS Project implemented by the OECS Commission in partnership with Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and funded by the European Union, underscores the commitment of the Eastern Caribbean region to combating plastic pollution and fostering circular economy principles.

The Zero Waste Schools Program forms part of the public education and awareness outreach of the Recycle OECS Model Demonstration Project in Dominica, led by the Dominica Solid Waste Management Corporation (DSWMC). The initiative was launched on March 13, with a slate of 2,950 students from 45 schools and 57 4-H clubs. Additionally, the program launched with 39 businesses on board, each committed to funding school and community-based zero waste programs of the schools with which they are paired.

At the heart of the Zero Waste Schools Program is the establishment of green spaces at participating schools, complete with composting facilities and backyard gardens. Where there are limited ground spaces, innovative hanging gardens utilising recycled plastic containers will be set up to propagate medicinal herbs, seasonings, and botanicals, while championing recycling practices.

Furthermore, each participating school is setting up a dedicated recyclables depot, managed in collaboration with the DSWMC. The depot not only serves as a hub for collecting and sorting recyclables for collection through the DSWMC’s recyclables curbside service but also acts as a sustainability strategy, rewarding schools with the most plastics quarterly. Students are encouraged to bring recyclable plastics from home to the school depot, fostering a sense of responsibility and engaging their families in sustainable practices.

One of the program’s groundbreaking aspects is the training of students in data collection using the Debris Tracker App, facilitated through an ongoing partnership between DSWMC and the University of Georgia. Equipped with this technology, students not only monitor waste trends within their schools but also track debris within their communities, gathering invaluable data for DSWMC’s analysis and strategic waste management planning.

Dominica and Grenada are the two OECS Member States implementing Recycle OECS Model Demonstration Projects. Through a longstanding Environmental Schools Program, the Grenada Solid Waste Management Authority (GSWMA) also works closely with schools island-wide to promote sustainable practices through composting and, more recently, through separation and sorting of recyclables.

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