A GROUP of eco-friendly Brent schoolchildren have been rummaging through sacks of rubbish in a bid to improve their recycling habits.
The youngsters, from Wykeham Primary School, in Aboyne Road, Neasden, have recently completed a waste audit to ensure they do their bit for the environment.
Teachers emptied two day's worth of soggy bin bags and tasked pupils with sorting and weighing the drinks cartons, empty tins and discarded food waste into different categories - like metal, paper, plastic and food waste.
The audit was part of Brent Council's reduce, reuse, recycle programme, rolled out in schools to promote the idea that we can all reduce waste, reuse things as much as possible and recycle more.
Pupil Muhammed Rahman, 10, said he had learnt from the experience and was surprised that two-thirds of what we throw away can be recycled.
"Most of the school's rubbish was food and green waste," he said.
"If we don't want to throw it away we can compost it to grow more food. Recycling is important so that human beings don't become extinct if we run out of natural resources."
Elizabeth Ayodele, 11, added: "It was surprising how much waste the school throws away. We can recycle and get more from everything."
The pupils studied the results and came up with an action plan to cut down on the amount of waste. It included initiatives such as collecting food and green waste for composting and promoting recycling by writing to school governors and advertising within the school.
Teacher Esther Berryman said: "This really engages them and makes them think so they develop their own ideas about the need for recycling.
"The work in schools is crucial to boosting the borough's recycling rate and cutting the amount the borough sends to rot in landfill sites."
Along with waste audits, the council's waste policy team visits schools to hold special assemblies and workshops on how materials, such as paper and metal are recycled.
The programme has reached more than 8,000 children in the last year alone and helped the average school cut the amount of waste by up to 70 per cent.
The council's waste and environ-mental education officer, Yvonne Crace, said: "Two-thirds of what we all throw away can be recycled, and it's easy to do more.
"Encouraging schools and their pupils to 'reduce, reuse and recycle' plays a really important role in cutting the amount of waste Brent sends to landfill."
* For more on recycling, call Brent Council on 0208 937 5050 or visit www.brent.gov.uk/waste
The recycling rate has risen to 22 per cent this year and the council has pledged to raise it to 30 per cent by 2010.
The borough sends about 100,000 tonnes of waste to landfill every year and council chiefs are looking to cut this by 10,000 tonnes next year.
The council pay £5.7m per year to dispose of waste. This is made up of tax on every tonne of waste and levys to companies for disposal costs.
Cutting 10 per cent from the amount sent to landfill will save £615,000 in public money next year.
In your green box: Newspapers, magazines, clean white paper,telephone directories, Yellow Pages and junk mail.
All glass bottles and jars.
Metal including food and drinks cans, aerosol cans and aluminium foil.
Textiles and clothes (put in a clear bag) excluding duvets and pillows. Shoes.
Household and car batteries (put in a plastic bag).
Engine oil (put in a sealed container).
In your green organic bin: Food waste which includes all food scraps, meat and bones, fruit and vegetables, coffee grounds and tea bags, egg shells (wrapped in newspaper or put in a cardboard box).
Cardboard excluding drinks cartons and washing powder boxes.