Green Schools

Green School St Finian’s College

Green Schools coordinator: Mr Shane Campbell

Green Schools.jpg

Flag 1: Litter and Waste Awarded 2022

Litter and Waste is the first theme of the Green Schools Programme

This theme encourages a sense of personal pride and responsibility in tackling two visible issues in schools. The aim of this theme is to take an in depth look at both litter and waste and find ways to eliminate litter and reduce waste output. The Litter and Waste theme is funded by Local Authorities, Textile Recycling LtdT/A Clothes Pod and The Wrigley Company Ltd.

During the 2019-2020 year, Green-Schools students on the Litter and Waste theme diverted 9,500 tonnes of waste from landfill. That’s the same weight as 80 blue whales, or 4,500 giraffes!

Promoting long-term, whole-school action for the environment Green-Schools is a student-led programme with involvement from the wider community.

The programme is operated and coordinated by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce (FEE member for Ireland).

What is litter?

Litter is waste in the wrong place and is always caused by humans.

Litter ruins the appearance of our beautiful towns and countryside. Litter has many forms and many sources, from a sweet wrapper thrown on the street to a dumped bag of rubbish or a fly-tipped load of demolition rubble. Local Authorities spend millions every year cleaning the streets of Ireland and trying to prevent people from dumping their waste illegally. We feel, the money and effort spent on this could be spent on better things!

Litter such as broken bottles and cans left lying around public areas can easily result in an injury, while food litter can attract rats and flies, which spread disease. Litter can also be lethal to wildlife, from discarded fishing lines that can maim and kill water birds, to plastic bags mistaken for food and ingested by animals such as cows, sheep, horses and some marine animals.

Most schools have a litter problem to some degree. The first challenge on the way to becoming a Green-School is to prevent and reduce the amount of litter in the school grounds and raise awareness about the problems associated with litter.

What is Waste?

Waste is an unwanted or unsalable substance or material.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Ireland, since 2007, municipal waste has declined, by 24 per cent per capita, despite an increase in population. Nevertheless, per capita waste generation is still considered to be at an unsustainably high level in Ireland. Municipal waste includes household and commercial waste.

In the past, Ireland sent almost all waste to landfill. However, over the last ten years, Ireland has moved towards a more sophisticated infrastructure of waste recovery and recycling activities.

By thinking about the impact we are having on the environment and changing our actions accordingly we can play an important part in promoting sustainable development. Reducing the amount of waste we produce by re-using, repairing, composting, recycling and, most importantly, preventing waste in the first place, we can help to protect both our country and our planet for future generations.

Targets are set at European level and various Directives are in place, such as the Landfill Directive, the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive’s, and the Waste Framework Directive. The Waste Framework Directive sets a target for 50% of municipal waste to be recycled by 2020 in countries throughout European Union (EU).

In 2004, a National Waste Prevention Programme was launched in Ireland, led by the EPA and in 2012 “A Resource Opportunity – Waste Management Policy in Ireland” was launched with the aim of moving Ireland away from landfill and towards more waste reduction and recovery. Ireland is well on its way to meeting both the national targets and the EU recovery/recycling obligations but much more still needs to be done. We can all play our part in helping to meet these targets.

Useful information from

Useful Websites

Flag 2: Water Awarded 2024

Water is one of the core themes of the Green-Schools Programme. The Water theme looks at developing awareness around water conservation and how to effectively manage this important resource in our school and in our home. The Water theme is sponsored by Uisce Eireann.

During 2019/2020 Green-Schools students saved 592 million litres of water. That’s enough to fill 20 Olympic sized swimming pools, or make 2.3 billion cups of tea!

About Green-Schools Water:

Water is an important resource which we use in almost every part of daily life. The raw material may appear to be plentiful but, worldwide, and even in parts of Ireland, it is an increasingly scarce resource. It is not only humans who rely on water, it is also important for the survival of all other living creatures and habitats. Thus, a sufficient supply of clean water is essential to the health of people and the environment. This theme looks at developing awareness around water conservation and how to effectively manage this important resource in our schools and at home.

Irish Water:

Irish Water sponsor and support the Green-Schools Water theme. The support of Irish Water is important to the overall development and delivery of the Water theme and provides Irish Water with the opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to supporting the education and engagement of primary and secondary school students in water conservation and efficiency throughout Ireland. In addition, by supporting the Water theme, Irish Water is helping to enhance the delivery of the Green-Schools Water theme to schools. (See below for a list of events carried out in partnership with Irish Water and visit for more information)

Useful Tips to Conserve Water at Home:

  • Turn off the taps when washing your teeth – you can save six litres of water
  • Take a shower not a bath – don’t use power showers as a 10-minute shower uses as much water as three baths!
  • Fill the kettle for the right amount – you can save energy as well!
  • Use water from a water butt to water your plants
  • Never use a hose pipe in your garden
  • Always fix leaking taps
  • Use your dishwasher and washing machine only when they are full, thus saving energy as well!
  • Visit Irish Water’s website to learn more about being water smart in the home.

Facts and Figures

  • 99% of the world’s water cannot be used because it is either saline (i.e. salt water) or is locked up in glaciers and ice sheets.
  • Most of the remaining water is present in rocks as groundwater (approx. 0.6%), while just over 0.3% is present in rivers and lakes
  • Rapid expansion in urban populations has resulted in increased pressure on Local Authority wastewater treatment facilities and, in many instances, the inability to cope with the increasing volumes of waste generated.
  • A tap dripping once a second wastes 45,000 litres of water a year
  • A hosepipe or sprinkler can use 1,000 litres (or 1 tonne) of water per hour. This is as much as a family of four would normally use in two days!
  • Our own bodies are two thirds water and our brains are at least 85% water!
  • A person can survive a month without food, but can only survive five or six days without water
  • A power shower uses almost 125 litres of water in five minutes. That’s a massive 250 litres in 10 minutes!
  • Shortage of water could lead to major political conflicts around the world. Over 20 countries depend on the flow of water from other countries for their water supply
  • The World Bank estimates that by 2025 1.4 billion people in 48 countries may experience water stress or scarcity.

Aug 23
1st Year 2024 Induction Day
Aug 26
Return to school 1st, 3rd, 6th yr
Aug 26
Return to school St Martha's & St Phyl's
Aug 27
Return to school 2nd & 5th year
Longford Road, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, N91 H593
044 934 8672
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