The biggest Eco-Polytechnic in the country
The Eco-Schools Award was, for the first time, awarded to all the Organic Teaching Units (UOE) of the Polytechnic of Coimbra (IPC) in the academic year 2018/2019. It is the largest Eco-Polytechnic in the country and the creation of synergies between the UOE was fundamental for this achievement, which was only possible due to the commitment of all the UOE Presidents, the Eco-Schools Coordinators and the entire community.
The Eco-Schools Programme assumes a very important role in the application of concepts and ideas of environmental education and management in the daily life of the school. Above all, because it involves the participation of young people, who will be the future decision-makers, involving them in the construction of a more sustainable school and community. It is an international programme of the Foundation for Environmental Education developed in Portugal since 1996 by the European Blue Flag Association (ABAE), which works on the three aspects of sustainability – environmental, economic and social -, encourages and recognises actions of environmental education for sustainability, rewarding them, and reinforces the importance of everyone’s involvement in this journey.
To be an Eco-School is to be integrative and to assume the responsibility and commitment, even if shared, for a future that is inclusive, healthy and sustainable. At the Polytechnic of Coimbra, to be an Eco-School is to be nonconformist and to always aim for better results that are reflected in less waste, more healthy and sustainable food, less energy, more biodiversity, less water and more forest.
Being Eco-School is making a difference and believing that Higher Education Institutions play a key role in environmental education for sustainability. The Polytechnic of Coimbra has carried out a set of actions aimed at implementing more sustainable behaviours by the academic community of the IPC, among which we highlight:
– Establishing partnerships with Ecopilhas, Geração Depositrão and ValorMed for the collection of associated hazardous waste and raising awareness for this purpose, through the sharing and dissemination of information about them;
– Participation in the 10th Collection of Used Batteries for the Portuguese Institute of Oncology (IPO), with the various UOE, through which around 120kg of waste were collected;
– Delivery of ecopoints, made from ream paper boxes, to the employees of IPC’s Central Services, for the disposal of used paper/cardboard, with an awareness-raising action on the 3 R’s policy;
– Stimulation of awareness campaigns and workshops on the correct waste management and its separation, in all the IPC’s residences;
– Provision of ecopoints in the residences, canteens and cafeterias, the Cultural Centre Penedo da Saudade and the Central Services of IPC;
– Delivery of reusable bottles, through a partnership with Águas de Coimbra, to all new IPC students in the academic year 2018/2019, at the Opening Ceremony of Classes (October 2nd, 2018), with awareness raising on tap water consumption;
– Delivery of glass bottles to the presidencies of the various IPC UOE, as well as to the other IPC management bodies, including the Students’ Associations, to be made available in the meeting rooms, congresses and seminars held;
– Delivery of glass bottles to IPC workers and new students for the 2019/2020 academic year, with awareness raising on tap water consumption;
– Establishment of a Partnership with Re-Food, in order to combat food waste that cannot be avoided at all, since the Social Services (SAS) of IPC have already implemented and are implementing waste prevention measures, such as the reuse of lunch surpluses for dinner, when all the food quality and safety conditions are guaranteed, which at the weekend, for example, it is not possible to ensure;
– Placing stickers with messages about saving and preserving water in all bathrooms and in the canteen of IPC’s Central Services, with associated awareness-raising, office by office;
– Distribution of stickers to the various UOE with messages about saving and preserving water to be made available at their water points, as a way of raising awareness;
– Delivery of stickers to the various UOE with messages appealing to turn off the lights, air conditioners and datashow, to be displayed outside the offices and/or classrooms, as a way of raising awareness;
– Participation in the Earth Hour, with the various IPC UOE;
– Provision of 7 electric vehicle charging stations – 1 in each UOE and 1 in the Central Services – which became operational in August 2019 and are part of the MOBI.E network (campaign funded by the Environmental Fund of the Ministry of the Environment).