An Eco-Code is more like an Environmental Policy for your school. It is your school’s mission statement and commitment towards improving its environmental performance. The Eco-Code should fit into your school’s general policy and must be something you can actually strive for. It should be presented in a clear and imaginative way and prominently displayed throughout the school; i.e. in every classroom, notice boards, corridors, in the staffrooms, and reception. It can also be posted on your school website, if you have one.
Although Eco-Code is represented as Step 7 of the Eco-Schools process, it does not mean this is the last activity you will carry out. It would be useful to create it once you have identified your priority areas after the Environmental Review. So that can be one of the priority items in your Action Plan. This also gives maximum students the opportunity to be engaged in an activity that must involve their whole school.
What should the Eco-Code contain?
The Eco-Code is essentially a consolidated presentation of the main objectives based on the Environmental Review, covering areas in your school that will be looked at on a priority basis during that year. The Eco-Code may be based on any one of the Eco-Schools themes the school is working on or more. This can be decided by the Eco-Committee after your school’s Environmental Review. It is crucial that students play a key role in the development of the Eco-Code as this will give them a greater sense of responsibility for the values the Code represents. )
What form should the Code take?
How the Eco-Code is formatted is entirely up to the school. It may be a poster that could be a list of statements, a song or rap, or even a poem. The format should be appropriate to the age and ability of the students concerned. Eye-catching illustrations are usually included to make the Eco-Code more appealing.
The Code contents should be reviewed on a regular basis as new environmental issues emerge, reflecting changing circumstances in your school. You can change your school Eco-Code every year if you wish. You may also choose to try out different formats of the Eco-Code presentation from time to time. For e.g., it may be a poster for the first time, a poem the next time around, and maybe a song another time! But what needs to be kept in mind is that it is known to maximum students in your school, recognized / identified by the majority, and has their approval as well.
Sample Eco-Code from a school in Scotland
• Litter – find a bin to put it in!
• Still on and not in use? – that’s energy abuse!
• Remember the three Rs... reduce, reuse, recycle!
• Water... waste not, want not!
• If it’s not night, then put out that light!
• Don’t use the car if it’s not far... just use a bike or take a hike!
• A full page is a ‘cool’ page!
• If we use recycling bins, we can be sure the whole world wins!
• Look after the world for the future!
Sample Eco-Code from a school in Ireland
Paper will not be wasted;
All pages in copy will be filled;
Photocopies will be backed;
Every box, paper and cardboard will be reused, recycled and therefore reduced; Reduction of paper is our aim.
(Adopted from Eco-Schools USA, Ekoskola, Eco-Schools Scotland)