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Shining star on waste reduction

Schools

If you take a walk around the Star of the Sea School at Henley Beach you will probably be surprised by two things – the lack of rubbish in the yard and the fact there are NO bins!

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So where is all the rubbish going? The answer is simple… there is very little, if any, rubbish to start with, so bins are not needed.

Shining a light on what is possible when attitudes and culture change, the school has made a 99 per cent reduction in waste since its first KESAB audit in 2006.

The primary school’s achievements were featured on the ABC’s War on Waste program last year and it now receives emails and messages from around Australia from other schools wanting to know more about their program.

Further recognition of the school’s war on waste came when it received a KESAB award last year for the ‘greatest reductions in materials to landfill for a primary school site’.

Teachers Toby Moulton and Peter Hoskin have been the driving forces behind the sustainability initiatives and the push for zero landfill.

As Mr Moulton explained, a number of waste audits conducted by KESAB in recent years revealed the school was sending “far too much” waste to landfill.

“We have gradually improved year by year, however we decided that we needed to step up and set an example for our students and school community where all stakeholders are involved, informed and accountable,”
Mr Hoskin said.

In recent years the school has introduced more worm farms and 400 litre compost bins, with each classroom now having a 200ml ‘mini landfill’ bin which they aim to fill only once a day – or even better, once a week.

“By beginning sustainability education in the junior primary, kids understand the practicalities of recycling/composting in their
formative years so that it simply becomes part of everyday life at Star of the Sea. Our Year 6/7 ‘eco warriors’ have also been instrumental in educating students and parents,” he added.

In Term 4 the school fully embraced the ‘no waste’ mantra by undertaking a ‘zero outdoor bin’ trial.

“We removed all outdoor bins and recess and lunch eating occurred in classrooms,” explained Mr Moulton.

“We had ‘sustainability superheroes’ present at every break-time. They make sure everyone is eating in the right area and they talk to their school peers about landfill versus organic and recyclable plastic. Our school yard has never been tidier!”

Mr Moulton said being asked to be part of the War on Waste program was a definite highlight during 2017.

“We were excited to be featured, but one of the things I admire in kids is that they just get on with things the next day.”

This year the school hopes to consolidate its landfill waste reduction and then shift focus to reducing the amount of paper used in photocopiers and printers.

 

 

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