Case Studies

Kingsley School, Bideford

Kingsley School, an independent school in Bideford, are hard at work creating an Earth Centre, complete with veggie gardens to supply the school kitchen. The best thing is that they are using food waste to grow the veg!

John Hickson, Manager of the Ecology Zone said:

“We installed two Ridan food waste composters in October 2020 and they process all our food waste from the school kitchen into amazing compost, within a matter of weeks! I have help from some of the students to turn them regularly and to add wood chipping to the mixture.”

“We have created a large, new Ecology Zone at Kingsley School. Through a no-dig gardening system, we have prepared several beds of 10m x 10m which are used to grow vegetables. The aim is to produce fresh produce for the school throughout the year, which can be used in the school kitchen. This summer, we also hope that extra produce will be sold in our local community.”

This struck us as an excellent example of the circular economy in action, using waste as resources. We wish them luck in the coming years – we can’t wait to see what the Earth Centre does next!

Two Ridan food waste composters at Kingsley School in Bideford, photographed in the winter sunshine by Lucy Mottram on 17th January 2022

Doddiscombleigh Primary School

Doddiscombleigh Primary School worked with Exeter University to develop a healthier and more sustainable school food culture including the school meals and food education curriculum.

This included planning a lunch menu full of delicious and nutritious food from local sources, working with parents and taking children on regular farm trips.

They even had a special chat with legendary food waste warrior and chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

St Peter’s C of E Primary School, Budleigh Salterton

Waste awareness event on Fridays for Future day

St Peter’s C of E Primary School in Budleigh Salterton held an environmental awareness day on Friday 24th May 2019 for the whole school. During the day, instead of striking away from school, all 10 classes took part in an in-school strike from their usual lessons and had a day focused on environmental learning and action instead. Surfers Against Sewage and Devon County Council Waste Educators conducted workshops, while Exmouth Repair Café helped repair and repurpose old items. This project was in solidarity with Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future climate change protests!

First school in Devon to declare a Climate Emergency

Pupils at St Peters have been learning about climate change and in December 2019 decided to state an emergency. The schools Eco champions went into Budleigh town centre with their banners and signs to hand out leaflets, spreading the news that the school has declared an emergency. The pupils asked members of the community to join them to tackle climate change.

Read their declaration on the schools website as well as the pupils speeches and watch their march:

Georgeham C of E Primary School

Achieved Plastic Free School Status!

Georgeham CofE Primary School has become the first to achieve the Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Schools Status in the UK. Keri Lambert, the catering manager, motivated the school to achieve this by:

  • Firstly, looking at what plastics were in and around the school that weren’t necessary, and then think of ways to replace them.
  • Swapping cling film with foil in the school canteen.
  • Replacing sauce sachets with larger sauce bottles with pumps.
  • Milk, previously provided daily to each Reception class pupil in a small non-recyclable carton with a plastic straw and wrapper, is now delivered to the school in 2-litre recyclable bottles and served in washable beakers. This has avoided 3,900 waste cartons, straws and straw wrappers every year.
  • Individually packaged ice-creams replaced with Arctic Role in recyclable packaging.
  • Supplier of fruit and vegetables now takes back the plastic packaging for recycling.

These measures have not cost any extra and are actually saving the school money!

Keri Lambert, school dinner assistant at Georgeham Primary School pouring milk for pupils at Devon's first Plastic Free School

Holsworthy C of E Primary School

Reuse Gardening Project

Amanda Thompson, the Wild Tribe teacher from Holsworthy Primary School, has created a wonderful outdoor learning space for her school, by reusing items that she collected through the year which were left lying around the school, and reusing them in creative ways. She uses the Outdoor Area all year round, whatever the weather, so needed to create different spaces to accommodate the different needs of each season/lesson/class. Some of the creative designs made so far include;

  • A fire pit made from leftover bricks and concrete blocks surrounded by seating made of old railway sleepers.
  • Pallets made into loose play equipment.
  • A car made from pallets and an old ship’s wheel.
  • Compost heaps made from pallets.
  • Mosaic made from milk bottle tops.

Sparkwell All Saints Primary, Plymouth

The first school in Devon to achieve an Eco-Schools Green Flag in 2019!

Congratulations to Sparkwell Primary School for achieving their Eco-School Green Flag, it’s great to see schools like yours learning about environmental issues and making your school more eco-friendly!

To earn their green flag, Sparkwell’s KS2 Eco-Rangers visited the Plymouth Energy from Waste plant to learn about what happens to their black bin bag rubbish! The pupils have also been busy on Wembury Beach learning about the impacts of plastic pollution on local wildlife.

After learning about climate change and taking part in a school protest, Robins class had the opportunity to ask all their burning environmental questions to local MP,  Sir Gary Streeter, he was very impressed with their enthusiasm and knowledge!

Sparkwell have also created a great Eco-Code (required to earn a green flag award), they have pledged to recycle what they can, put litter in the bin and to look after their environment by using less water, switching lights off and driving less!

“it was truly inspiring to hear about all the work Sparkwell have been doing, they were definitely the most enthusiastic and committed group I have met in my Eco-Schools work so far”

-Eco-Schools Assessor

Well done Sparkwell!

Group of children at Sparkwell school holding up their EcoschoolsGreen Flag

Visit our Eco-Schools page full of information about how Recycle Devon could help you achieve your Green Flag, just like Sparkwell!

Whipton Barton Junior School, Exeter

Loose Parts Playtime

Loose parts play is playing with anything that moves around, for example, building a den using blankets and tarpaulins or making a bridge with pallets. Recent research has shown that it improves problem solving skills and increases teamwork.

At Whipton Barton Junior School in Exeter loose parts have been gathered by the school community for children to play with every lunchtime. Everything has been recycled and reused. Recently children had a non-uniform day and brought in items from home that could be reused, rather than donating cash. The school sent a letter home with all the children listing the items children could bring in:

Image of a list of items for loose parts play at Whipton Barton

All children get a chance to play with Loose Parts at lunchtimes to engage students in creative thinking and problem solving. Children are encouraged outside in all weathers as coats and boots are part of the school uniform. The staff admitted that it does look like a mess, but children have free access to a range of building materials, pallets, tubes and tools and digging holes in the mud.

We love this idea and think it is a great way of reusing stuff that your school community (parents, grandparents, staff, friends and family) may have lying around their home or business. How great for it to be used creatively at school, getting kids outside in all weathers and not get thrown away!

Still from video of children in coats playing outdoors with adult play supervisor

Marpool Primary School, Exmouth

Clothes Swishing Event

Are you looking to raise money for your school whilst enjoying a fun activity? Then clothes swishing might be for you.

If you haven’t heard of clothes swishing it’s a chance to swap clothes for free. The basic idea of the swish is that people donate items and then they receive a credit. Then on the day they can pick up for free the same number of items as they received credits for. Clothes swishing can include bags, accessories, jewellery and shoes but no underwear or swim wear. All items should be in good condition and clean.

Recycle Devon asked Marpool primary school in Exmouth to try out their clothes swishing kit and to give us their feedback.

“We held a ‘swishing’ event at school for ladies clothes; the event was an excellent way of bringing together the school community with a fun and interesting evening activity. It was a lovely opportunity to meet new people, chat and mingle in a relaxed atmosphere whilst knowing you were doing your bit for the environment”

Rachel Pattison, Headteacher

In total they had about 350 items donated and approximately 100 were swished. The leftover clothes were to be sold at one of the regular jumble sales held by the Marpool School Association (MSA), so the school benefitted from every item donated. There was a small entrance fee charged and the staff provided refreshments on the night.

If you would like further information or would like to hold your own clothes swishing event then please get in contact with the DCC Reuse Officer Jennifer Cooper ( or ring 01392 383275.

Picture of clothes hanging on a climbing frame in the school hall at Marpool Primary school
Rails of clothes separated into different women's sizes at a clothes swish at Marpool Primary School

Why not try any of these ideas at your school? We’d love to hear from you if you do!