Wicklow County Council Runs Hazardous Waste School Programmes

Since 2015, Wicklow County Council has been running, in partnership with the Dominican College in Wicklow, a Transition Year (TY) module called Sustainable Education. This module explored ways of behaving more sustainably and included actions taken by the students to practice new behaviours.

This has now been developed further to undertake an education programme based on raising awareness of and preventing household hazardous waste. The programme is called The Hazardous Waste Detectives. This extended the work that has already been done by the Regional Waste Management Office (RWMO) for Limerick, Clare and Kerry, that produced a series of householders guides including ‘A Householders’ Guide to Hazardous Waste Prevention’ and a ‘Greener Cleaning Guide’. These booklets contain tips and advice for householders on the correct use and disposal of everyday hazardous products and suggested alternatives for the house and garden and would be used as a standard material for the course.

Wicklow County Council produced a series of classroom and home based projects to be carried out by the transition year students and evaluated by them and their teachers. They involved the science and home economics teachers as well as the TY teachers, this included:

  • lesson on what hazardous chemicals are used at home and how to recognise them;
  • survey types of home hazardous wastes;
  • compile survey results;
  • Research and experiment alternatives;
  • Evaluate results and create pamphlets and/or multimedia presentations of what they have learned for use with other groups.

As well as the classroom projects, the students ran a workshop for a primary school class in early 2016. Many lessons were learned from this programme and in its final evaluation the students made recommendations on improvements to the programme. In 2016 this was expanded to a different secondary school, taking consideration of the experiences of the previous year and linking it to the CPSE programme for Junior Cert.

Wicklow County Council also extended the workshop given to primary school children to include a parent workshop delivered by the students and a publication of the materials used.