At Bristol Childcare our ethos is to do all we can to operate as environmentally sustainably as possible. We are aware that there is always more that we can do, but our aim is to take small, sustainable steps. We are constantly reflecting and evaluating areas for improvement.
- We respect food as a precious resource and ensure as little as possible is wasted;
- Each nursery has a compost bin for fruit and vegetable peelings;
- Other food waste is collected by the council; Bristol City deliver this to GenEco to process into electricity, gas and fertiliser;
- We plan our meals to include meat-free days and offer a range of proteins including beans and pulses;
- The red meat we use is bought from a Local Butcher that sources ethically and locally produced meat;
- Much of the fruit and vegetables provided are home grown by nursery directors;
- The children are introduced to growing fruit and vegetables in the nursery gardens;
- Staff are encouraged to turn lights off when not required; all light bulbs are low energy or LED;
- Washing is hung out when possible and tumble driers are only used when really needed;
- We update our equipment to ensure it is energy efficient;
- Our Head Office is powered by solar energy;
- We have smart controls on our heating systems so that the temperature of each room can be controlled independently as required.
- We use NU Bamboo Nappies – bamboo is a more sustainable resource and these nappies have less plastic in them. Parents are given an offer code to buy these for themselves.
- Our nappies are collected by Green Bottoms who send them to Energy-from-Waste facilities. We are sent an audit about how much of our waste has not gone to landfill.
- We use as few nappy sacks as possible. Nursery bins are emptied frequently rather than using nappy sacks to reduce smells in the nursery. Parents are asked to provide plastic bags (that are re-used) or wet bags for wet clothes.
- We promote use of reusable nappies and support parents to do this. We have a trial pack of nappies that parents can borrow to try them out and have links with a range of companies who offer discount for parents to buy their own nappies.
- Staff are trained in how to correctly use reusable nappies and can support parents in learning how to use them.
- We have links with local nappy libraries and share this information with parents.
- We do not use plastic wet wipes.
- We make our own wet wipes using kitchen roll (which will biodegrade) and aloe vera.
- We buy in bulk and up-cycle what containers we can for play or storage – eg tin cans, ice cream tubs, potato sacks;
- As much as possible is recycled, including using “waste” to create resources for the children to play with;
- We set up collections for a range of recycling schemes – eg stationary, beauty products, crisp packets, and these are taken to local collection points.
- We mend and repair equipment and resources where possible; staff must not throw away anything that is broken but must report it using the Damage Report Form so that the breakage can be evaluated and a sustainable replacement found.
- Staff make resources by upcycling materials, eg story sacks
- We create costumes and dressing up clothes by upcycling;
- We use food play sparingly, acknowledging that food is a precious resource which many people in the world are short of; we are also careful to only offer water play in a way that does not waste water, eg not using sprinklers;
- We re-use paper from our Head Office for craft activities;
- We use a cloud-based system to share documents and only print where necessary;
- We use digital learning diaries rather than paper;
- We use washable aprons and dish cloths;
- We use traditional soap bars in the children’s bathrooms and refillable products where possible;
- We do not use straws, wet wipes or single use plastic plates or cups;
- We provide natural resources for children to explore such as pine cones, straw, wood shavings and logs;
- We do not buy a lot of plastic toys or resources and staff are encouraged to take care of resources, eg ensuring tops are put back on pens and books are not left on the floor to be walked on. Children are taught to care for toys whilst enjoying using them, so that they last.
- We use glitter sparingly, as a “treat” resource;
- We take care of our books and resources to give them as long a life as possible;
- Cot sheets, towels and blankets are upcycled when they can no longer be used for their primary purpose;
- We buy from charity shops and pass resources we no longer need on to others who can benefit from them;
- We teach children (and staff) to respect, enjoy and care for the natural world;
- We encourage children to learn life skills such as sewing and cooking.
- We encourage staff to think about their impact on the planet, eg by using reusable water bottles rather than single use ones.
- Children enjoy learning to grow flowers such sunflowers and what is needed to help plants grow;
- The children learn about where food comes from and the food chain by helping with activities such as podding home-grown broad beans then putting the pods in the compost bins.
- We have recycling and upcycling schemes that parents and children can be involved in including collecting old pens to take for recycling, upcycling mascara wands for use by an animal charity and collecting bras to send to a charity to pass on to others or upcycle. This helps children learn about the wider context of environmental issues and community and helps staff, children and parents reflect on and learn about consumption and waste.
Many of these areas have been part of our care since our first nursery opened in 1971 and form part of our traditional family ethos.