Children need to touch the earth, to be touched by it’
Hawthorn West Primary has made a consistent and ongoing effort to reduce waste at the school with a range of initiatives and activities over 2012.
Classroom Waste Stations:
Each classroom has a waste station including:
• Co-mingle recycling and
• Food scraps collection.
There has been a significant reduction in the collection of landfill rubbish each day. The school has managed to reduce the number of garbage bags from 17 for a day to 4. This is directly due to the sorting of rubbish within classrooms and the staffroom.
Outside Waste Stations:
We have 4 waste stations outside in our school grounds including:
• Co-mingle recycling and
• Food scraps
Previously, HWPS only collected landfill outside during play times. There were 9 landfill bins. We introduced the collection of recycling AND food scraps, therefore reducing the number of landfill bins from 9 to 4. The reduction of landfill waste has decreased dramatically and empowered our students to sort their rubbish sustainably.
Each bin is clearly labelled with bright posters displaying common types of rubbish and which bin their rubbish goes.
Waste Station Tours
The Green Team led each class on a Waste Station Tour around the school.
Each class signed up for a 10-15 minute tour of our 4 waste stations including the composting area. The aim was to ensure that all students know where to dispose of their waste and attempt to put it in the correct bin (a challenging task for some of junior students)!!
The Green Team had a different focus at each waste station focusing on:
• Where does our rubbish go if we drop it on the ground?
• Rubbish sort activity
• Where does our rubbish go after it leaves our school bins?
• HWPS Waste achievements/celebration
A Sustainably minded parent from our Sustainability Sub-Committee lead the discussion at the compost and discussed how our food scraps decompose with the help of heat and compost creatures. The children were shown the interesting differences between all the compost bins, noting the different stages of decomposition.
The Waste Station tours were engaging, educational and have brought an improvement in the reduction of waste in our school.
Litter Busters Initiative
In an attempt to keep our playground tidy we introduced a new initiative called ‘Litter Busters’.
Each class has a turn at being the Litter Busters once or twice a year, rotating through each class, each week. This entails one class collecting rubbish for 10 minutes after lunch each day for one week. The children are encouraged to sort their rubbish as the collect it.
We purchased a big red wheelie bin and 30 pairs of tongs to make litter collection more hygienic and fun! A parent donated many buckets to collect the rubbish and these are colour-coded to match our bins at our outside waste stations:
• Yellow—food scraps
Community Recycling Centre
“Kids have a powerful influence over the recycling habits of a household. Educating them early is likely to have an impact on the entire household.” (Planet Ark website)
HWPS Green Team made a Community Recycling Centre. The Community Recycling Centre is situated in the school Reception area.
The community can recycle the following things at our school:
1. Mobile phones and accessories
3. Wine bottle corks
a. including plastic corks and
b. aluminium screw tops from wine bottles.
Nude Food (Rubbish free Wednesdays)
At the end of Term 3 we introduced ‘Rubbish Free Wednesdays’, challenging families to reduce waste brought to school on children’s meals. The children were educated about the purpose and benefits of rubbish free lunches.
Each Wednesday, the Green Team collect data from each classroom, recording the amount of students who do and do not have ‘nude food’ (waste). This data is made public in the school newsletter and on the notice board to encourage competitiveness between classes and less waste (of course)!!
At the end of the year, the class with the best participation in nude food Wednesdays, will be awarded with a special prize (lollies)!
On the National Nude Food Day Challenge – we celebrated by selling reusable Lunch Wallets ($10) to reduce paper bag wastage from our lunch orders (twice weekly). We also raffled a Nude Food Movers Smash rubbish free lunchbox (all proceeds going to the Sustainability budget).
Many parents and children brought their nude food lunch boxes and displayed them to their peers and parents in the community on this day.
Clean Up Australia Day
Hawthorn West Primary celebrates Clean Up Australia Day annually bringing together students, teachers and the community to clean up our local environment.
This year we were impressed with the enthusiasm of everyone involved. There was SO much rubbish within the school and local areas, our bins were almost overflowing on return.
Some interesting pieces of rubbish were found:
• a leather handbag
• syringes AND
• several pieces of underwear!
The children’s knowledge of the importance of disposing of their waste appropriately has improved. We hope they continue to understand the importance of keeping Australia clean and take greater pride in their local environment.