With more students taking part in environmental activism, some may have approached your school or group about ways to go green. School parent groups can play an important role in reinforcing environmental awareness and promoting school programs like recycling and composting. Many leaders are finding ways to reduce the environmental impact of what their groups do, as well.

How To Make Your School Green

Parent group leaders often create a green committee to work with custodians, the principal, and the school district to identify needs, limitations, and solutions. Green committees may also encourage families to follow eco-friendly practices.

 

Ideas for Green Committees

  • Create a Walk to School Day (or Week) event.

  • Organize students to collect classroom paper for recycling during recess.

  • Hold an eco-theme science fair.

  • Include facts about recycling in daily school announcements.

  • Collect bottle caps (which might not be recyclable) and create a mural.

  • Purchase water bottle filling stations and encourage using reusable bottles.

  • Teach students about the environment by teaming up with local conservation groups to create native habitats or rain gardens.

  • Encourage families to bring their own utensils and cups to events.

  • Create a one-stop drop-off spot for items not covered by municipal curbside recycling programs, like cell phones, ink cartridges, plastic bags, batteries, juice boxes, etc.

  • Hold swaps for gently used uniforms, clothing, and sports equipment to help families save money and resources.

  • Compost lunch scraps and assign student monitors to run collection points.

  • Ask the administration about switching to recyclable cardboard trays and compostable utensils.

  • Hold a monthlong energy awareness program and end with a zero-waste celebration.

  • Ask representatives from energy awareness programs to teach students about energy- and waste-reduction efforts.

 

Help Your PTO Go Green

By focusing on your day-to-day operations, you’ll find plenty of ways to make your group greener.

  • Print notices on half-size sheets of paper with double-sided printing.

  • Another way to save paper is to encourage parents to find school supply lists on PTO Today's sister site TeacherLists, or to help teachers put their classroom wish lists on the site.

  • Use online forms for member registrations, volunteer sign-ups, and order forms.

  • Communicate via social media, email updates, e-newsletters, and apps.

  • Combine meetings with school events to improve attendance and cut gas use and driving time.

  • Create less waste during events by using recyclable or compostable products and disposing of them properly.

Terri Frank, Evelyn Beck, and Jodi Webb contributed to this article.