Our Changing Environment

Litter & Waste

Here both schools record and exchange information of a more factual nature starting to allow comparison of similarities and differences.

Students are encouraged to make hypotheses about what the situation may be in their partner school which they could then revisit.



Which global concepts are addressed here?

Sustainable development.

  • Both schools agree that they wish to examine the issue of litter and waste within both their schools and wider community.
  • As an initial activity both schools ask their students whether they think the same issues around litter and waste will be present in both schools? Do both schools produce the same amount of litter and waste and will it be in the same form?
  • Both schools consider the importance of classifying different types of litter and waste and agree a policy written as a school code.
  • Schools then undertake an initial walk - assessing the problems and recording them. Undertake an environment review.
  • Each school then undertakes its own audit of litter and waste. Recording its findings in a variety of ways. Posters/pictures/bar graphs/questionnaires.
  • Students discover what happens to their waste and litter.


Which global concepts are now developed here?

Here both schools start to examine, explore and question the underlying problems behind litter and waste.

  • Using the results produced by their audits, each school needs to examine what reasons lay behind litter and waste. Initially practical issues are raised. For example access to litter bins/ recycling etc.
  • The UK school finds that the greatest % of litter within their school related to sweet and biscuit packaging. The teacher decides to develop their understanding of packaging by looking at different approaches to this which was picked up in a DT project. Here students look at what they considered was the most sustainable approach to their lunch boxes. Question why so much packaging is involved and is this a sensible use of resources. They find that very few students understood what happened to their litter and so pupils construct a why why chain showing the stages involved in disposal of different types of litter and waste. This chain is shared with their partner school.
  • The Malawi schools find food waste and packing were their main source of litter. The pupils start to examine ways of addressing this and investigated composting within the school grounds.
  • The differences between these forms of litter are shared and both group of pupils are encouraged to question why this may be the case. Is one community more sustainable than the other? Does one community use more resources than another? Is this fair & equitable?
  • The two schools share in the photo activity their findings and asking questions. All Starfish schools share their findings online through Starfishers.
  • See their worlds through their dustbin.
  • Creative writing – write a story or poem about “ fitter without litter”.


Which global concepts are integrated now?

This clearly illustrates the connection of issues to other concepts especially social justice through aspects of fairness

Here both schools started to investigate what impact litter and waste had on the environment and how this could be improved by individual actions and wider local and government interventons.

  • Both schools decided to use the issue wheel as a framework for pupils to consider the wider political and economic consequences of their findings
  • UK pupils started to realise that their consumption patterns could be improved to reduce waste and litter. They looked at ways that particularly paper could be reused within the school and set targets for paper consumption.
  • Look at the eco stove/briquette as a possible solution to the environmental problem in both schools. A)Litter B) Firewood C) Deforestation D) Smoke Inhalation E) Literacy F) Habitat G) Climate – Co2 Emissions H) Microfinance
  • Both schools looked at the eco stove/briquette as a possible solution to using waste more sustainably. With the UK school researching if any local communities now used recycled briquettes as an energy source.
  • Both schools were particularly concerned at how waste was being dumped in other countries and students discussed ways that this could be prevented
  • Celebrate findings. Keep in touch. Examine behaviour regularly.

Eco Schools in the UK & Malawi

Litter & Waste

The shared curriculum is centred around the principle of Eco Schools, England. The initial objectives are to create an eco-committee, do an environmental review, create an action plan, write an eco-code and then share this information between the schools in the UK and Malawi.

Both schools will be required initially to complete the environmental review and action plan and share the minutes of their meetings and action plan implementation. This will form the basis of the dialogue around the joint curriculum work moving forward.

Please find below a great case study on subject of 'Litter and Waste' from

Hunton School CE Primary school in Maidstone.

Eco School Case Study - April 2012

Blank Eco Schools Case Story Form


The Eco-Committe

The Eco-Committee is the action team and the driving force behind the Eco-Schools work.

It will include:

  • Pupils chosen or elected to represent different year groups and the whole school
  • A member of staff (the Eco-Coordinator) to support but not lead the committee
  • The Eco-Committee should also include the following where possible:
  • Headteacher or a member of the senior management team
  • School bursar
  • Other teacher(s)
  • Village committee representative(s)
  • Parent(s)
  • Non-teaching staff member(s)
  • Member of the local community

The role of the Eco-Committee

The Eco-Committee is tasked to:

  • Ensure that the whole school is aware of the Eco-Schools programme
  • Take the lead in carrying out the Environmental Review
  • Ensure that everyone in the school community is represented in the decision-making process (as far as possible)
  • Provide a link between pupils, teachers, senior management team, governors and the whole school community
  • Take the lead in delivering the Eco-Schools Action Plan
  • Keep minutes of meetings and action points

Once the Eco-Committee has been formed, they will conduct the Environmental Review of the school. Conducting this review enables the Eco-Committee to investigate where the school is doing well and what areas might need to be worked on. This in turn will help guide the Action Plan.

Environmental Review within school

An Environmental Review (or audit) will give a realistic picture of the school’s current environmental performance. It will tell you what is going well and what needs to be worked upon. Schools in UK and Malawi will compare their review findings and suggest improvements.

The Environmental Review informs the Action Plan, helping the school to decide what change is necessary and how urgently the changes are required. This activity will be completed at the outset and at least once every school year. Follow-up reviews will be undertaken to see the progress the school has made.

The Environmental Review will be carried out by the Eco-committee.

It will cover: litter; waste reduction and recycling; energy; biodiversity; pupil activities; healthy living; and global perspectives.

An adaptedEnvironmental Review template is attached.

Starfish Environmental Review

The Environmental Review will include questions like:

Is the school litter free? Graded evaluation.

Does the school recycle waste, paper, plastics, etc?

Do school grounds include areas of wildlife habitat other than those offered by grass on school fields?

Are environmental issues discussed in lessons or in assemblies, etc?

What recommendations for action?

Out of the Environmental Review an Action Plan will be created.

The Action Plan is core to the work as an Eco-School and will be developed using the results of the Environmental Review The Action Plan will be shared with the whole school community.

The Action Plan is intended to be a working document and will therefore be reviewed, revised and amended regularly.

Action Plan

The Action Plan is core to the work as an Eco-School and will be developed using the results of the Environmental Review The Action Plan will be shared with the whole school community.

The Action Plan is intended to be a working document and will therefore be reviewed, revised and amended regularly.

A template of a completed Action Plan is attached:

Starfish Action Plan

Key features of developing the action plan will be:

  1. Look at the results of your Environmental Review.
  2. Decide what action will be taken to improve these issues.
  3. Decide what the measure of success will be. Make sure the action taken is something that can be measured.
  4. Decide timescales for each action.
  5. Assign people to be responsible for each action. This will be pupils, staff or anyone else within the school community.
  6. Complete the Action Plan. Make sure that the whole school is involved in delivering the actions and that the headteacher supports the Action Plan.

If the Environmental Review has suggested a large number of issues to address, prioritise them, and divide the targets into short, medium and long term. It’s much better to go forward in small steps and celebrate success frequently.

Find out how to get the rest of the school and local community on board and involved with your Eco-Schools activities.

It is key to make sure the Eco-Committee considers how to measure and evaluate the projects and activities within the Action Plan. That way the school can not only monitor its progression through the Eco-Schools programme, but can celebrate and shout about its achievements and successes too.


Litter Busters

Litter & Waste

A fact sheet/question sheet, exploring the problems of

litter for the environment.

Starfish Litter Busters PDF



Litter & Waste

In this section we will discover how our behaviour has an impact upon the environment.

We will discover that we can make a difference and as we do so we will be improving life throughout the world, as we all live on one planet. Globalisation means that there is a connectivity between what goes on in the UK and Malawi as we live in a World with finite resources. How we use them will tell something about what life will be like for future generations.

Reactivity Notes

Recycling words Wordsearch

The Recycling words Wordsearch teaches us words that can affect the way we view our World.




Open Fire vs Briquettes  

Litter & Waste

Video: How to make Nsima


This worksheet is to be shared between the schools in Malawi and the schools in the UK. It talks about the benefits of using alternative methods of cooking in place of firewood. It enables children to consider the impacts on social and economic life, showing the consequences of choices made.

In Malawi, only 2% of the population have electricity, which causes them to look for alternative power sources. This unit of work explores the choices available and possible solutions to environmental problems.

Open fire - Worksheet



Litter & Waste

Our primary goal is to bring into the classroom in Malawi and UK engaging and collaborative teaching around environmental issues. Flowing from improved learning will come changed knowledge, behaviour and attitude within the community as a whole. 

Eco is a new curriculum area in Malawi. By making the school the hub of education and introducing practical programmes, this will create a powerful, visual expression of change for generations to come.



Various practical action projects will be introduced flowing from the teaching Our lead project seeks effectively to utilise part of our environmental problem (by recycling litter and waste into eco-briquettes) and make it into part of the solution (using these as a sustainable alternative to firewood) providing Malawi with a cheap alternative to wood burning, healthier and longer lives for hundreds of thousands of women, better attendance in school, local employment, environmental care and above all generational change through education within the schools.

Litter, rice husks, peanut shells, dried grasses (things currently burnt and destroyed, and causing health and environmental problems) are recycled it into something valuable. By addressing one issue it becomes the answer to another.


Short Film: Fuel / Biomass Briquettes



This is one of the greatest issues facing Africa today. The effects of deforestation are tangible: less rain, hotter climates, soil erosion, and drought bring famine, poverty, and starvation. Yet in Malawi, an area of forest the size of a football pitch is cut down every 10 minutes! Deforestation brings loss of habitat and a biodiversity crisis.

Hundreds of thousands of women in Malawi die prematurely because of smoke inhalation from the burning of firewood. According to the World Health Organisation, 1.6 million people die prematurely from smoke inhalation every year — that’s more people than die of malaria! These effects are most poignant for women and children who spend most of their day around the fire.

We seek a world where the land produces a better harvest, where there are less orphans, with informed and savvy children….. a better life, and the substitution of firewood by litter will make a tangible difference

Flooding and Deforestation...


Please follow the link below to download an excellent powerpoint presentation supplied by Fiona Gibbon at Old Bexley Primary school (linked with Napache) highlighting the power we all have to tackle environmental issue in our communities.

This inspirational presentation focuses on the life of Waangari Maathai who's singlehanded determination and dedication in tackling deforestation in her homeland has helped to change the face of Kenya amongst other african countries, earning her the noble peace prize.


Ripple Africa- Fuel efficient cook stove project

Ripple Africa focuses on environment, education and healthcare in the Nkhata Bay District of Malawi. The Changu Changu Moto stove is a positive alternative to traditional open fires. It is simple, low cost, has a low tech sustainable structure and is sourced 100% from local materials. This stove reduces deforestation in the local area, as well as greatly reducing the direct inhalation of smoke. 


1: Wonderfuel

Other practical low cost simple programmes are included in the main report under the PRACTICAL ACTION section. We attach the full educational and practical proposal, for which Starfish is seeking funding.

Below you will find PowerPoint presentations showing the different social, economic, natural and political issues which the eco-stove seeks to address.