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Water: Marine Debris

What You Can Do at School

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At School

Schools and students can help to reduce marine debris in the environment. Below are four easy steps you can take in the classroom to reduce waste and minimize marine debris. Students and teachers can play key roles in reducing marine debris just by learning and teaching about its sources, impacts, and prevention methods, and by sharing this information with friends and family.

Dispose of trash properly

How Can I Have A Waste-Less School Year?
Get more tips for waste-less school year.

Dispose of all trash and recyclables in the proper receptacles. Make sure to recycle plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and paper. Don't leave trash in the parking lots, on the playgrounds, or at the sporting events areas. Pick up any non-hazardous litter you see around your school and dispose of it properly. If your school does not have recycling program explore School Recycling Resources for more information and for other waste reduction methods.

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Reuse old school supplies

Try to reuse your old backpack, pencils, notebooks, and other supplies. When buying new supplies, look for durable backpacks, refillable pens and pencils, solar calculators, and supplies made from recycled materials. Instead of buying new book covers, reuse newspapers or other decorated scrap paper to cover books.

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Pack a waste-free lunch

Did You Know?
Packing a waste-free lunch saves an average student $250 and 67 pounds of trash per nine-month school year!

Bring your lunch in a reusable lunchbox or cooler. Pack sandwiches, snacks, and drinks in reusable containers rather than in plastic bags and disposable bottles. If you cannot use reusable containers, reuse the same paper lunch bag and plastic bags for several days rather than using a new one for each day. Limit your use of any other disposable products and excessive packaging, especially on individually wrapped items. For more information and educational materials on waste free lunches visit EPA's Pack a Waste-Free Lunch site.

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Encourage your school to become involved in cleanup and waste minimization projects

Students can share ways to prevent marine debris and reduce waste with friends, classmates, and teachers. Encourage your school to have classes adopt sections of the school property to help keep clean, and pledge to keep them litter-free during the year. Start an environmental club, recycling project, or gather people to participate in cleanup events.

For teachers and administrators, EPA developed Tools to Reduce Waste in Schools (PDF) (44 pp, 808K, About PDF), a guide to assist schools and school districts to create new, or expand upon existing, waste reduction programs. Educational resources are also available through Marine Debris Curriculum, Solid Waste Issues learning materials (Wastes - Education Resources Web site), and the Environmental Kids Club.

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