Waste separation in schools

Separating waste in the classroom: a logical step and teachable moment.

Did you know only 5% of Dutch schools separate plastic waste? Today, school waste is regarded as industrial waste making it expensive to separate and recycle. That's why I'm campaigning  for school waste to be reclassified as household waste.  

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Learned young ...

Visiting an elementary school in Den Ham, the Netherlands, where pupils are used to seperate their waste

Waste separation in classrooms creates teachable moments.

As we say in Dutch, "learned young is done old". We beleive that separating waste in the classroom is a 'Life-Hack' that children will carry with them throughout their lives.

Our experience shows that children like to separate waste when they understand its importance. Through the act of separating, children learn about waste, see how much single-use plastic there is, and begin to think about how to reduce and reuse.

Waste Separation Tour 2020

Victor Kaijser Bots made the documentary Wakkere Wegwerpers Tour (in Dutch) - premiering October 30, 2021 at Leiden International Film Festival

In 2020, I made 550 km paddled from Maastricht in the south of the Netherlands to the isle of Schiermonnikoog in the north. Along the way I visited schools - whose students became Bright Binners - and consulted with parties involved in waste management. It seemed like we were on track to accomplish our school waste separation goal, but the packaging industry blocked our efforts.

Thanks to a motion passed by Dutch House of Representatives it must be arranged by 2025.

Bright Binners Tour 2020

Waste Separation Tour 2021

To speed up the implementation of better rules, I got on the supboard again in 2021 and paddled 300 km from Den Ham to The Hague. On my way I visited schools, mayors, administrators, scientists and recycling companies.

From them I received hundreds of Wakkere Wegwerpers Wensen (Bright Binners Wishes) with which they asked politicians to make waste separation possible at schools. I presented these to the State Secretary and Members of Parliament.

The State Secretary "Young learning is old doing. So waste separation: not only at home, but also at school."

"We'll do that"

Policy makers supported my proposal for waste separation in the classroom to become the standard practice within 4 years. State Secretary Van Weyenberg, from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, has publicly announced that he backs this measure.

Again a great result! But not yet a 100% guarantee. We will continue our efforts until it has been completed!

Bright Binners Turbo Tour

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