A mobile library ‘wanders’ in the yard of Fifth Primary School in Aglantzia, Nicosia. Benches accommodate the 390 students on breaks, promoting the idea of bibliophilia and building environmental awareness through the recycling and reuse of books. The school is among few in the Nicosia district that promotes organized actions for the recycling and reuse of books, textbooks, and others.
The action is implemented with the support of the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute and Aravella Zachariou, the Coordinator of the Unit of Education for Environment and Sustainable Development (ESD) and the approval of the Education Ministry. It began two and a half years ago when Ismini Pafiti, a member of the School Parents Association, realized that there was no organized plan for used textbooks and other books. She briefed the other parents and they decided to promote a specific action. Thus the “Recycling and Reuse of School and Other Books” Action was born.
“Initially our goal was to collect used textbooks and notebooks and hand them over to a paper recycling company. We got in touch with a few companies and came to an agreement. Along the way, the action gained a broader approach, we collect all kinds of books and decide what to do with them. The action of course is carried out in collaboration with the school and has been incorporated into its Sustainable Environmental Policy,” Pafitis told Cyprus News Agency.
A large number of books have already been collected and around 100 kilos were already given to the recycling company. The agreement provides that for every ton of books the school will be given back an amount of money to be used for environmental awareness events.
The teachers responsible for the Sustainable Environmental Policy go through books and decide which ones will be given for recycling, which ones can be used again next year by students and which books can be placed at the library. Usually non textbooks, encyclopedias etc are decorating the library.
Parents and students can bring books to school at any time and announcements are made frequently to remind all about the action.
“The purpose is to collect school and other textbooks on a permanent basis and to use them appropriately, to build environmental awareness in school children and their parents and to introduce appreciation and love for books in general. The goal is for this action to become a permanent one for our school and to be spread out in the community and other schools across the country so that all Parents` Associations in collaboration with teachers can use tons of school and other textbooks to their benefit and to the benefit of the environment,” she says.
She also said that the Parents’ Association came in touch with Aglantzia Municipality and the Mayor and they hope that they could find a way of cooperation for the benefit of the community.
Pafitis also says that students embraced the action and were happy and enthusiastic about all the events organized to promote it.
She also notes that the recycle of school uniforms was something that was discussed among the parents in the past and although some parents collect uniforms, the action is not done in an organized way. “This is definitely a good idea to implement and we will look into it in detail,” she said.