Dealing with Waste at Croydon West Primary School

1. Litter free playground
We have created a litter free environment in our school grounds. Several years ago we were concerned about the amount of litter in our school yard. We viewed this problem as an environmental issue and an aesthetic one. After brainstorming with students and teachers as to possible solutions, we came up with several ways to reduce litter to the point now when the only litter we find is occasional litter from passers by on the weekends. Data on our actual measurable savings is difficult to collect as we generally have no litter now.
We tackled this problem in a few ways.
  • Educating our students to be aware of what happens to our rubbish when we litter.
  • We removed all the bins in our yard leaving only a land fill bin, a compost bin and a recycle bin in an area we call the Food Court. Students are able to eat here or in the classrooms where time is allocated. ‘Munch and crunch time’ in which students eat fruit or raw vegetables any time throughout class had the added bonus of students choosing healthy snacks rather than packaged less healthy foods.
  • Food waste is composted, given to our chooks or worms.
  • Some years ago we appointed Eco Captains from Grade 4 to oversee collecting rubbish during lunch breaks and assessing the process. However we have not found this necessary for some years as the culture of our school has dramatically changed and dropping litter is not an issue.
  • A high proportion of students regularly bring Rubbish Free Lunches. Our canteen committee has supported this challenge by changing the menu to address unnecessary packaging, healthy choices, and reusable bags for ordering.
  • We have found that by developing our gardens in consultation with the students, increased pride in our school has resulted in a litter free yard.
2.Reduced general waste;
We were concerned by the amount of rubbish generated by our school. This problem was not only an environmental issue but we felt that we could also save some money by changing our processes.
We were able to cut down on our waste by:
  • Encouraging and rewarding regular Rubbish free lunches
  • Canteen committees initiatives such as researching biodegradable wrappings, foods with minimum or no wrapping, healthy choices, reusable lunch bags for ordering.
  • Encouraging students to use reusable drink bottles for water rather than bottles and cartons.
  • Using composting, chooks, worm farm to deal with food scraps. Compost is used in our vegetable patch.
  • Recycling computer printer cartridges.
  • Leasing computers rather than sending obsolete equipment to land fill.
  • Every class has a compost bin, chooks bin, recycle paper bin, recycle bin for bottles, cans, cartons, plastic containers.
  • When ordering supplies we order in bulk to prevent unnecessary packaging.
  • Dramatic reduction in use of photo copy paper due to printing both sides and photocopying less as we prefer to educate our students with authentic learning tasks, not worksheets.
  • Reusing boxes, cardboard, paper in construction sessions in our enquiry based learning tasks.
We have created a curriculum and school environment which educates and demonstrates to our students how to deal with waste in an environmentally conscious way. Students daily take part in the responsibility of dealing with their waste and have the knowledge to make choices which are beneficial to our environment. Students have had an influence on their families at home discussing waste issues, doing audits and changing the way they bring their lunches to school.
Authentic tasks were designed to increase students understanding of the nature of waste. Through tracing waste and packaging back and tracking its life (cradle to cradle concept) and brainstorming the environmental impact, students are equipped to make choices about products and packaging. Students designed alternative environmentally conscious packaging. They conducted waste experiments in which they buried organic and non organic waste and over different periods of time they dug it up making statements about the results and the potential effect landfill waste has on our environment. Students made posters for our school about reducing, reusing and recycling waste to educate the school community. Students studied the importance of worms in the processing of organic waste, contributing to a school display about worms and beginning a worm farm to process some of our organic waste. Regular sessions in our veggie patch have given our students experience of understanding the role of compost in dealing with organic waste and using our compost to enrich our soil. Student involvement in designing rubbish free lunches and a student led team publicising and auditing proved to be a success as our total rubbish for the entire school was 43g which represented a tiny .3g per student.
Our waste wise measures have resulted in a dramatic reduction in the amount of general waste generated by our school. Our waste is collected in a skip bin. In 2004 it was collected weekly but now we have been able to reduce the size of the landfill skip to 3 m3, and it is now collected monthly. Except for the end-of-Term collection, this bin is rarely filled.
By Croydon West Primary School|2017-11-06T17:58:41+10:00May 12th, 2013|0 Comments