India has more than 1.5 million schools and 260 million students. Think about a regular day in these schools before the pandemic. Imagine the amount of waste— food waste, plastic, paper, stationery—produced in these schools in a day. Now, add COVID-19 waste to it as schools across the country are reopening. Imagine all of this waste going to landfills. Alarming, isn’t it?
Schools have a crucial role to play as waste generators as well as waste warriors, who manage all the solid waste they generate sustainably. The solid waste generated by schools is very different compared to that of other places such as restaurants. Plastic, paper, and food waste are some of the dominant wastes produced in a school.
Since schools have been clubbed with other bulk waste generators, they are responsible for managing their own waste, as per the New Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016. This solid waste is of the following types that must be managed scientifically and effectively.
What should, then, the schools aim for to become model schools and set an example for all the other schools to follow? The answer— ZERO. Aiming to become a zero-waste school with the right practices is what will help most schools tackle this waste menace.
This is exactly what CSE’s Green Schools Programme (GSP) network schools in India have pledged to do! The GSP Forum of Schools that Segregate, an exclusive community of schools that have benchmarked their waste generation and devised action plans to improve solid waste management, took the Waste Transformers Pledge in an online event.
The community has 126 registered member schools as of now. The students and teachers of these Forum Schools aim to become zero-waste generators in the next two years by implementing some action plans. These plans have been devised by the schools themselves by analysing their waste generation and recycling baselines, as well as the problem areas in and around the schools where these interventions are required.
The goal of the Forum is to build schools that are pioneers of waste management and serve as models for other schools to take inspiration from. You can also become a part of this change by adopting the Waste Transformers Pledge and its practices given in the posters. To know more about the GSP Forum of Schools and its initiatives, please visit