For this year’s World Earth Day, some Chinese elementary and middle schools in cities like Beijing and Hangzhou launched a new class on the concept of zero waste.
The class — Zero Waste Knowledge — is part of the “Pepsi No Waste Public Education” project, jointly launched by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment’s Publicity and Education Center, China Environmental Protection Foundation, PepsiCo, and Give2Asia.
During the first lesson of the “Zero Waste Knowledge” course, students at Dongcheng District Fuxue Hutong Elementary School set up book corners to advocate for the recycling of old books. Zhao Xi, an instructor at Xicheng District Youth Science and Technology Museum, gave a short lecture on reducing the use of paper on campus.
The project saw the launch of the first lesson of the course for more than 70 elementary and middle schools, through a combination of online and offline teaching. The class aims to encourage teachers and students to pay more attention to waste reduction and recycling, as well as to practice the concept of zero waste.
They also established the “Zero Waste Campus Indicator System”, which was a result of a team of experts’ research and discussions, organized by the School of Environment of Beijing Normal University, along with multiple factors such as school organization and management, environmental protection, environmental education, environmental culture, and social influence. The indicator system, including five first-level indicators and multiple second-level indicators, is a guiding document for the construction of a “waste-free campus”, with the hope that it will be extended in the future to support the development of a “zero-waste campus” nationwide.
A waste-free campus will still have waste, and not all waste will be fully recycled and reused. As an advanced campus management concept, it aims to ultimately achieve the smallest amount of solid waste from the campus, as well as a full utilization of resources and safe disposal. The practical exploration of teachers and students on campus can eventually contribute to building “waste-free cities”.