School Waste Bank Project as Environmental Education at SAL Junior High School



School Waste Bank Project as Environmental Education at SAL Junior High School

Heppyan Redy - detikNews
Kamis, 04 Nov 2021 18:46 WIB
Bank sampah sekolah di Makassar, Kamis 4 Agustus 2016
Ilustrasi bank sampah/Foto: M Nur Abdurrahman/detikcom
Jakarta -


The United Nations had issued the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since 2015. Especially in SDG No.4 (Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all) and especially in indicator 4.7.1.

It is stated that education has to ensure that education for sustainable development (ESD), including gender equality and human rights, are implemented at all educational levels by: (a) national education policies, (b) curricula, (c) teacher education, and (d) student assessment. For environmental education in schools it may relate with goal number 12 (Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns) especially indicator 12.5.1 is stated that the national recycling rate, tons of material recycled (United Nations, 2015).

In 2014, UNESCO stated in its Global Action Programme in order to enable strategic focus and stakeholder commitment, their first phase (2014-2019) will focus on five priority areas which are key leverage points to advance the ESD agenda: policy support, whole-institution approaches, educators, youth and local communities (UNESCO, 2014).

As an eco-school (a school with special concern to environmental preservation), Sekolah Alam Lampung (SAL) Junior High School provides an ESD system which involve communities around the school, NGO, and government as the policy maker to obtain the UN SDGs and UNESCO goals by their learning activity.

Integrated Project Based Learning (Integrated PBL)

In fact, each school have various learning method to gain the education goals based on their different circumstances which they can apply whatever they think it could be the best way for them (Affandi, 2013).

One of various learning method is PBL. It is a learning method that makes a project as a learning tool for students for an extended period of time, so that they gain skills and knowledge. The project must be really exist in their real life, taken from everyday life, and actively involve students in a meaningful learning.

Furthermore, PBL is different from "doing a project" as part of an assessment conducted by the teacher after a teaching material has been delivered. However, PBL is a teaching tool used by teachers during the learning process, so that students get the expected knowledge and skills. By itself, PBL will demand more higher-order thinking skills and learn to work as a team (Buck Institute for Education, 2019).

Educators have tried to improve education method in order to obtain the education goals easier. Furthermore, earning result is influenced by several factors, including learning strategies, one of that is integrated learning.

Integrated learning is an education method to deliver knowledge and or skill to the learner by making connections within a major, between fields, between curriculum, co-curriculum, or between academic knowledge and practice (Huber et al, 2015).

SAL Project

In Indonesia, people have many local environmental problems that come from domestic waste (48% of the national total waste), both organic and non-organic since the Indonesian government only process the waste less than 7% (Baqiroh, 2019).

So, SAL Junior High School solve the problem by education method because education is a basic human right and the foundation for more sustainable, inclusive and just development (UNESCO, 2014).

As an effort to alleviate the waste problem in the (schools) environment, especially paper and plastic waste, the school has implemented a series of environmental care policies, including:

1. Set the school waste bank as the main environmental project

2. Require every student, teacher, and staff to be a waste bank customer, not only rubbish collected in school, but also rubbish that is carried from their homes, to be processed into economic goods or sold to recycling plants. Moreover, not only the waste problem from school and house can be resolved, even students have money savings at school waste bank. The money is returned to students not in full cash, some is returned in the form of stationery for school needs.

3. Reduce plastic and paper usage by prohibition of plastic and paper as disposable food or drink packaging and save paper by maximizing the use of both pages of a sheet of paper, paperless work, and the use of used paper.

4. Provide separate bins for paper, plastic, cans, and organic waste.

5. PUSAT Program (PUSAT = PUngut SAmpah yang Terlihat= collect the trash in your sight) Everyone in the school area is required to dispose of trash in the appropriate bins.

6. Use paper and plastic waste as the main material for educational tools.

7. Disseminate the waste bank program to the broad communities.

8. Produce eco-friendly products made from the waste. Various non-organic waste is processed into useful goods, such as plastic bottles into eco-brick, plastic packaging into bags, and other goods that can be sold and provide economic benefits (SMP Alam Lampung, 2019).

Some time later, the community around the school saw that the school had been more successful in its waste management, and they wanted similar benefits. So, the school collaborated with the local government and NGOs to conduct a workshop on household waste management for people around the school and continoues to spread to other communities that are far from the school.

Amazingly, the school waste bank not only solve the problem of domestic waste, but has become one of the sources of money savings for its customers, and the organic waste become organic fertilizer, floor cleaner, hand soap, and others that can be sold or used by themselves.

Today, the school workshop is not only about waste bank, but also about making organic fertilizer, hand sanitizers, floor cleaner, and organic farming (Redy, 2019). The waste bank programme had altered the people habits in waste management. Formerly people who lived in the area around the school managed their waste with;

1. Disposing of waste was not in an area designated by the government because it was considered far away and they must pay the waste shipping costs, or

2. Burnt their trash

After the waste bank programme run in their area, people changed the habit by saving their garbage in the waste bank. The steps taken by SAL to change the habits of people with the approach to activities;

1. Doing waste bank workshops. Teachers and students as presenters and the people as audiences

2. Installation of garbage bins in the community around the school

3. Working together to clean the environment. Teachers and students walk around to pick up non-organic waste that are scattered on the streets.

4. Picking trash up as savings for residents in area which the waste bank is not yet available (Redy, 2019).

Fortunately, the school has good collaborations with other institutions, such as local NGOs (namely Watala Lampung and Mitra Bentala) and academic organizations (AIESEC Unila, University of Lampung, Institute Technology of Sumatera, and many others school) to enhance the teacher competency as a trainer to manage an eco-friendly workshop and spread the SAL waste management concept (Redy, 2019).

Since the school involve teachers and students to guide the workshop, the workshop become a learning activity. Practically, the school waste bank is not only a media to resolve the local environmental problem, even it is an effective learning tool to obtain the ESD goals.

Moreover, SAL Junior High School identified PBL integrating various subjects along local context as a potential strategy to implement ESD. Then, the school created a local subject (called Environmental-based Project) that integrated to other subjects in classroom.

The school waste bank is the main project which divided to sub-project in each grade based on grade's competencies expectation. (SMP Alam Lampung, 2019).

The general objective of the environmental-based project programme is to obtain a more holistic environmental concept as a means of ESD through the PBL method. Students will understand that the preservation of nature is related to different areas of expertise, namely science, social science, ethics, or culture. Such an approach is suggested to contribute to student's character formation for better care about the environment and society (Genc, 2015).

Genc said that PBL had positive effects on students' pro-environmental attitudes as an approach that was beneficial, enhancing creativity, encouraging research and providing permanent learning. Students believed this method helped them define environmental problems more clearly and take on more active tasks in the solution process.

Because of those, to gain the PBL benefits, SAL prepared steps including:

1. Establish the Environmental-Based Project as a local subject at each grade.

2. Integrate the project with other subjects in the class.

3. Prepare lesson plans which are connected to school waste bank programme as the main project.

4. Monitor and evaluate each grade's projects throughout semester (SMP Alam Lampung, 2019).

Moreover, all activities of the school waste management are brought to the classroom as PBL activities to involve the student participation in small projects, which are fractions of school main project and integrated with other subjects in the class.

Practically, in the environmental-based project students can learn; science, language, social, mathematics, computers, and others all at once. Brock (2009) said by doing so, the school can improve the learning outcome since student look at a problem from various sights.

For an example, in "Trash Day Project" students collected garbage from classes, canteen, and office in the school. Then, they brought them to the school waste bank and learned how their garbage were treated and discussed in class about waste management and sustainability. Amazingly, student learned,

Mathematics : how much waste each unit produces?

Social : who makes and from where do daily waste?

Language : write about their responsibility over their garbage and what they can do to alter their habits.

The school waste bank project has changed the habits of school residents and the surrounding community who participated in the project. Habits turn to follow the 5R pattern (reduce, recycle, replace, refill, and reuse) including garbage sorting, waste processing into useful items (learning tools, home decorations, children's toys, compost, etc.), organic farming, and others.

On several occasions, students and teachers hold sympathetic actions to invite people to play an active role in environmental preservation activities. These actions took the form of oration, distribution of plant seeds / organic fertilizer / garbage boxes / organic food products for free, and waste management and organic farming workshop.

By doing so, the community saw that the benefits of managing household waste were numerous and encouraged them to join with environmental conservation activities happily. In Picture.1, we can see how the waste bank project create an active collaboration between school and other communities mutually.

The Innovative Programme

It is not easy to change people habits, but we can make it easy when we use social influence, shape good habits, leverage the domino effect, decide whether to talk to the heart or the brain, and favor experiences over ownership (White, K et al, 2019).

Moreover, by looking at the (especially economic) benefits gained by joining this action, people became interested. Some of the benefits they get are; money savings and various organic products, namely soap, fertilizer, vegetables, and floor cleaner. So, when speaking to the community, do not prioritize the concept of ESD because they barely care, what they need is getting economic benefits from their own waste, turning waste into money.

If they have felt the economic benefits from the waste management, then the concept of environmental preservation will be easier for them to be accepted.

Future Strategy

To spread the benefits of the waste bank project, the school prepares a scheduled programme to build other waste banks in other communities out of the school. The project initiation is scheduled to be completed within 6 months. Thus, the school aims to have 2 target villages each year (Redy, 2019).

On another side, the school has a obstacle to spread the school ESD goals to other schools whole Indonesia since the Environmental-based Project is a local subject only which other schools have no obligation to implement it.

Many schools do not apply the Environmental-based Project because they think it is a complicated activity learning when they have to create their own lesson plan based on their local circumstances (Aldabbus, 2018). I believe, it could be easy for teachers, if they have a guideline to prepare an integrated activity learning system.

Therefore, to overcome the difficulty, I have a research plan about create a guidebook for Environmental-based Project as a local subject at junior high school level. The project will be based on local wisdom and environmental issues in each school area. With the relationship of the Jaringan Sekolah Alam Nusantara/ JSAN (Indonesian eco-school network throughout Indonesia with active members of more than 100 schools), this school project guideline will be easily accepted and adopted by fellow JSAN members.

If this concept has been applied in many eco-school in Indonesia and the benefits are seen, then other schools will be more interested and participate in applying this concept. Finally, we have a lot of school as the environmental project initiator for each school area.

Contribution to The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Based on The United Nations SDGs, the school waste bank project related to many, such as:

a) SDG No.3 Good Health and Well-Being

b) SDG No.4 Quality Education

c) SDG No.8 Decent Work and Economic Growth

d) SDG No.12 Responsible Consumption and Production

e) SDG No.17 Partnerships for the Goals

While the SDG No.4 is the main goal of the SDGs to which the project mainly contributes. Through the waste bank project, the school may solve their waste problem (SDG No.12) and facilitate a better environmental education for students.

Not only the school, even the community will change their habits in managing their domestic waste. What usually happens in the local community is;

1. Initially they sort organic and non-organic waste (SDG No.3) because they want to have extra money by saving at the waste bank (SDG No.8), then

2. make organic products of economic value for themselves or for sale (SDG No.8), so that

3. healthy communities formed with minimal waste (SDG No.3) and

4. consume according to needs and safety (SDG No.12) after knowing there is rubbish that can still be processed and there is rubbish that only become a burden.

The participation of schools and NGOs to build the local community waste bank will strengthen cooperation (SDG No.17) and the continuation of the good habit because the concept of ESD has become a part of the education curriculum in schools and eco-friendly lifestyle in the community.

Related School Projects

The Environmental-based Project learning has been implemented at Sekolah Alam Lampung Junior High School since 2010 and has undergone many adjustments following changing circumstances. Description of implementation of the environmental-based project learning activities that have been conducted can be seen in the Table 2 and Table 3.

WhatsApp Image 2021-11-04 at 15.56.18.jpeg

Foto: dok. Heppyan Redy

The success of the implemented activities were so far reflected from the following perspectives:

1. Utilization. The activities were implemented as a response to environmental issues that arose in the community around the school and students' community. The learning outcomes of the project were applied by students in their daily lives. Until now, the community's response to this project is very good, indicated by many volunteers participation in workshops that conducted by the school related to the projects. However, not all students have shown pro-environmentally characters.

2. Linkages. Each activity was carried out by linking basic science competencies to other related subjects. Basic competencies in other subjects that cannot be linked with science were addressed in the reflection in the activities so far. This limitation is due to the large number of competencies established by the Indonesian government for school students as stipulated in the Regulation of the Minister of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia Number 37 year 2018. Thus, in the future more focus should be given to these competencies.

3. Sustainability. Sekolah Alam Lampung Junior High School continuous to implement environmental-based project learning every year in its permanent educational program. Although, on the other hand students have not yet implemented learned practices in their daily lives as it was intended. This should be a subject to further research (Redy, 2019).

Problem During the Project

The problems were started from the irregular/ additional environmental-based projects mostly. The projects were unplanned since the beginning of the school year, but the projects were conducted because of the school participation in national competitions.

Then, the school project problems are:

1. Many students, who have been selected for the additional projects, leave the project because;

a) they feel inadequate or the project does not match their interests

b) of an accumulation of learning load due to the National Final Examination.

c) they have a little of motivation

d) they do not understand environmental problems properly. The problem can be avoided by giving the students a correct understanding about the project goals and interests to be achieved.

2. Non optimal integrated learning because teachers still make lesson plans for each subject separately. In the beginning of school year, the school run an integrated learning. Unfortunately, the linkage between the project and the class' subjects got worse by the additional projects. The unplanned projects forced the school to work fast in small teams that were actually only pursuing a very limited target, namely winning the national competition. However, the additional projects did not have the proper readiness to become part of the school's ESD programme.

3. Difficulties (according to the teachers opinion) to prepare an integrated learning for junior high schools because of the high and complex government education goals.

According to the explanations above, it is clear that improvements are still needed in Sekolah Alam Lampung Junior High School's environmental-based PBL to be more applicable and contribute to student's character formation.


The conclusions of this article are:

1. PBL will be better if the project is based on local wisdom and / or daily problems that can actively involve students.

2. The school's project can be developed in the community around the school by involving local government and NGOs, or other institutions.

3. Environmental education in school is better if it is adjusted to the UN SDGs so that its utilization is better, wider, and sustainable.

4. Sekolah Alam Lampung Junior High School's PBL has not been fully integrated yet with other subjects in the classroom because of its limitation as a local subject and non optimal teacher's lesson plans due to the additional projects and government education goals.

Heppyan Redy, Juara 3 Karya Tulis PUPR Kategori Umum