Case Study

King’s Bruton Eco Committee: Sustainability at our heart

This year is the Eco Committee’s second year at King’s Bruton. The Committee started in September 2021 thanks to one pupil’s proactive attitude and interest in the cause and we have successfully continued our aim to make the school greener through initiatives like reducing food waste, rewilding and recycling.

Our main aim last school year was to earn an Eco Schools Green Flag award, which we achieved in July with a Distinction. Earning this flag took a lot of dedication in several areas and it was extremely rewarding to find out that our hard work had paid off. Working towards this award was also especially useful in encouraging us to consider lots of aspects of environmental friendliness in our school, such as food waste and recycling, which have been at the forefront of our focus in accordance with our Eco Code of ‘recycle, reduce, rewild’.

This Christmas term, we have relaunched our food waste campaign to keep people thinking about their impact. We have also proposed ideas to help normalise vegetarian and vegan meals in our dining room. This follows our successful initiative last year, which resulted in a notable decrease in food waste and an increase in conversations about food waste, driven by assemblies, posters, and surprising facts!

We’ve also prioritised recycling, providing mixed-recycling bins for all classrooms and boarding houses. This simple change will help promote more sustainable practices within the school and reduce the amount of waste simply going to landfill.

Additionally, we’ve looked towards rewilding areas of the school that were unused and could be used to attract wildlife; rewilding means allowing land to return to its natural state so that nature can thrive and is an exciting process to watch happen. For example, we’ve worked on rewilding the riverbank by planting wildflowers and creating a rewilded path, and this is becoming an appealing and relaxing place for students to visit in the future to feel surrounded by nature.  Particularly in the warm weather, we feel that this will be an exciting place to relax and socialise in, and we’re incredibly grateful to the Friends of King’s Bruton who have bought us benches to use in these areas.

We started this year with a Sustainability Week, featuring presentations in assembly and tutor time to encourage discussion of eco-friendly behaviours. As part of this week, we also held a clothes swap to promote sustainable fashion. We are likely to do this again as it was incredibly popular.

We are in the early stages of negotiating with the bursar about the school’s energy use. Although we have some solar panels at school, we would like to get more. Also, we are asking the school to be more transparent about its energy use, for example releasing statistics about the percentage of our energy that is supplied by our solar panels.

Many of our school buildings are not properly insulated, and we agree that this must be a priority to avoid wasting energy (and money). In some buildings, there is single glazing as well as some windows that do not shut properly, making the classrooms cold even when the heating is on.

The school has made progress on lighting since last year, with motion sensing lights installed in the science building. Most of the lighting is LED but we could still do more to ensure a higher level of energy efficiency.

Overall, the Eco Committee has been remarkably successful, and it’s felt rewarding to be part of something like this. We’re looking forward to embarking on several new ventures, such as creating eco-friendly Christmas decorations.

If you’d like to keep up with our projects, you can find us on Twitter at @KSB_Eco as well as on our webpage on the King’s Bruton school website.

Written by Members of the King’s Bruton Eco Committee