Brookhouse School has been one of the pioneer international schools in the Eco-schools Kenya programme. The school joined the Eco-schools Kenya back in 2010. Since then it has been a trailblazer in terms of promoting sustainability in schools and especially among international schools in Kenya. The school has been part of Eco-schools Litter Less Campaign since 2014 – an international campaign supported Wrigley Foundation aimed at promoting sustainable waste management in schools. As part of the campaign, the school has been collecting plastic bottles. The school forged a partnership with the Human Needs Project (HNP) in Kibera Slums in Nairobi. In 2015, HNP had a project to construct an underground waste water filtration and treatment system. This system required media for bacteria to grow and that happened to plastic media. Lots of bottles were therefore needed, cut into small pieces and stuffed into the underground tanks. As part of the Litter Less Campaign, the school Eco-club took up the challenge to support this interesting recycling initiative by rallying up support from the whole school body in collecting bottles. Parents supported their children by dropping off loads of used bottles in the morning when they bring their children to school. It ended up becoming a whole Brookhouse community Eco-schools involvement.
It is estimated that the whole waste water plant took excess of 150,000 bottles of which Brookhouse Eco-club had made the greatest contribution. Human Needs project is involved with community empowerment and sanitation issues; more about them here; http://www.humanneedsproject.org/about-hnp
From 2017, the school shifted focus into recycling used plastic bags into useful products. This was in form of crocheting plastic yarn into useful items such as baskets, laptop bags and pencil cases. The products made are donated to the school’s Service Learning partner i.e. Thomas Barnados orphanage and Seed Academy are two of our Community Service partners. The project also entails creating a group of student leaders who train other students/groups of students on this recycling activity. The project has been made a core Service Learning activity by incorporating more tutor groups.
The Brookhouse Plastic management project has grown from a school-wide sustainability campaign to an international engagement with other schools/youth around the world in a forum known as Plastic Ocean Pollution Solutions International Youth Summit (POPS). Members of the Environment Club in the school brainstorm and develop project ideas that are aimed at eliminating plastic waste in the school as well as in our immediate community. They present these ideas at the summit and also get opportunities to share solutions with youth and experts from other parts of the world. This biannual conference takes place in Dana Point, California. In 2019, the school presented their project idea of recycling used plastic bags into useful products in form of crocheting plastic yarn into useful items such as baskets, laptop bags and pencil cases.
So far the school has recycled over 150Kgs of plastic bottles involving over 100 students directly and over 300 students reached with messages on plastic waste management. This has led to reduced amount of plastic waste within the school community and increased awareness among students and teachers on methods of recycling plastic waste. It has also led to improved behaviour among the youth concerning sustainable consumption and production and increased students’ knowledge and practical skills in recycling plastic waste.
The school Eco-schools Patron, Mr. Thaddeus Obunga says,“The project has exposed our students to different dialogues on plastic waste management which has enhanced their knowledge and skills on waste management. Students have specifically gained entrepreneurial skills on how to transform plastic waste into something useful instead of just discarding it away.”