Canberra Region Joint Organisation of Councils  (CBRJO) Waste Education

The Strategic Waste Management Group is a voluntary waste group of councils from the south east of NSW funded by the NSW government through the NSW Environment Protection Agency whose objective is to assist its member councils address issues to do with waste stream management. The member councils involved include Bega, Eurobodalla, Hilltops, Goulburn Mulwaree, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Snowy Monaro, Upper Lachlan and Yass Valley. Collectively with the ACT Government, they form the Canberra Region Joint Organisation (CBRJO). Bournda Environmental Education Centre runs Waste Education Program for CBRJO and schools across all the member councils are invited to participate in waste education programs aimed at reducing the amount of waste schools and their communities send to landfill. Below are some of the schools that have been working on waste education programs with BEEC and CBRJO.

students from Pambula Public shool running a waste audit

Pambula Public School students from the SRC and Enviro teams joined forces with Jules Donne (Bournda EEC) to audit their playground rubbish bins. The students did an excellent job and found that the largest pile of waste was items that could be recycled. The SRC are looking at running a Nude Food Day in October and then running a ‘Trash Free’ day every week. The school’s P and C are also supporting this move and staff in the canteen are really keen to reduce waste as well. It will be great to see the changes at Pambula Public over the coming months. Well done kids!

students running a waste audit

Year 8 students from Bega High School are tackling the ‘War on Waste’ at their school and have loads of great ideas as to how they can reduce the amount of waste ending up in landfill. They are wanting to increase the recycling that is happening in the school and are really passionate about linking with their local community to reduce coffee cup waste. Jules Donne from the BEEC travelled to the school on the 29th August to talk with the students about waste and to assist them in running a waste audit of playground rubbish. The students sorted a huge pile of waste into recyclable, organic and landfill waste and are now using those results to help them make decisions about how the school can reduce its waste to landfill.

Year 3 – 6 students from Jugiong Public School participated in the ‘Working with Waste’ program on the 21st July. Glen Harper (Hilltops Council) taught the students what you can and can’t recycle, and what type of things can be made from recycled materials. Jules Donne (BEEC) discussed with the students the problems of landfill and played some educational games to help student understanding about this issue. A waste audit was conducted of all the waste produced by the school. Students noticed how many coffee cups were in the bins and decided their teachers needed to have keep cups! Lots of discussion was had about how the school could reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and the school is now working on coming up with an action plan.

Sam Ferrara (Bega Valley Shire Council), Jules Donne (BEEC) and Natalie Ryan (BVSC) worked together with teachers and students from Cobargo Public School on the 26th July. Stage 2 students completed a waste audit, sorting waste into four piles. Each pile of waste was discussed and ideas about how they could be reduced were shared. The teachers working with the students collected all the soft plastic to take into a newly created drop off facility, which was fantastic to see. The school is now working on an action plan to create some changes at the school.

Winning team from a waste relay game

Stage 2 students from Crookwell Public School took part in the ‘Working with Waste’ program on the 20th July. It was a very cold day – so we attempted our first indoors waste audit! The students did an amazing job and sorted the waste with extra care. The group discussed ways of reducing waste to landfill and came up with so many creative ideas for re-using items. Students kept warm running the waste relay and learnt about what type of waste items can be recycled and what items can be turned into compost. We are looking forward to hearing what creative ideas the students have come up with for the school.

Council staff talking with students about recycling

Queanbeyan East Public School students ran a waste audit of their playground rubbish on the 19th July. The students worked with Vanessa Palmer (Queanbeyan – Palerang Regional Council), Sophie Lloyd Jones (CBRJO) and Eli Webb (Queanbeyan East P and C). Vanessa gave a great introduction to the students about what can and can’t be recycled.  Jules Donne (BEEC) played the recycling relay with the students. The audit had students dividing their waste into four piles. The students discovered that a large percentage of the organic waste was uneaten food – they discussed that if students all finished their food they would already be reducing their waste to landfill by quite a lot! Students recorded their data, including all the different types of waste in each pile. This information will help them make some decisions about how they can reduce the amount of waste the school sends to landfill.

students from Berridale Public School conducting a waste audit

Berridale Public School invited Jules Donne from Bournda Environmental Education Centre and Edwina Lowe from Snowy Monaro Regional Council to their school on 13th June to run a waste audit with their students. All students from K – 6 were involved in the day. Students from K-3 worked with Jules and Edwina and learnt all about waste audits and played the waste audit game. Both Jules and Edwina were amazed at how much these students already knew about which bins to put their waste in and why this is so important. The year 4 – 6 students then sorted their way through two wheelie bins of playground rubbish dividing it into recyclable materials, organic waste and landfill. The students are pictured here with the three piles of waste. The groups then presented these results to the rest of the school and points of interest were discussed. The students and teachers had loads of ideas and were keen to implement some of these at the school. Well done Berridale students and teachers!

Students listening to a talk on composting by council staff member

Students from Goulburn Mulwaree and Upper Lachlan Shire councils learnt all about composting and why it is important to keep our food scraps out of landfill when they visited the Goulburn Regional Gallery in Term 1, 2017. Students are pictured here with Hannah Cotton from Goulburn Mulwaree Council who was talking to the students about the facilities the council offers for dealing with compostable items. Jules Donne, from Bournda EEC, ran educational activities that allowed students to learn about composting and its importance and then the students played some fun games that put some of their learning into practice. The gallery was running an exhibition ‘How does your garden grow’, so the students also spent time with gallery staff on the day.

Year 5 students from St. Patrick’s Parish School in Cooma took part in the ‘Working with Waste’ program in March, 2017. Belinda Ingram, Snowy Monaro Regional Council, and Jules Donne, Bournda EEC, worked with the students on the day. After an introductory session where students learnt all about waste and why it is important that we think about where our rubbish goes after we throw it away, they took on the challenge of running a waste audit of the playground rubbish bins. Students commented that the results of the waste audit made them think “that I need to be more careful about where I put my rubbish” and “that we should be taking containers (in our lunch boxes) and throwing our rubbish in the right bin”. The class, led by one interested  student, are now looking to come up with an action plan for the school.

Enviro Expo Madame Mulch and the Great Fertilizo! (Eaton gorge theatre company)

Over 600 students from seven schools in the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council joined together for the Queanbeyan Enviro Expo. The students learnt about the benefits of composting from Madame Mulch and the Great Fertilizo (Eaton Gorge Theatre) and participated in a range of activities including Bournda Environmental Education Centre’s Recycling Relay and Composting Games. Both teachers and students were positive about the day, with many teachers commenting it was very useful to support the learning back in the classroom.

Edwina Lowe (Snowy Monaro Regional Council) and Jules Donne (BEEC) were asked to introduce 338 students to composting on 1st November, 2016. The Snowy Monaro Regional Council donated kitchen caddies to all classrooms at Cooma North Public School and a compost bin to the school. The students are going to collect their food scraps and send them to the newly created vegetable garden where they will be composted.

Year 6 students from St. Peters Anglican College participated in a Working with Waste Day on 3rd May. Gillian Kearney from the Eurobodalla Shire Council introduced the day with a presentation about ‘Where our waste goes’. The students then participated in games and interactive iPad activities with Jules from BEEC focusing on what is waste and what goes in what bin. The final part of the day involved the students conducting a waste audit of their playground rubbish and brainstorming ideas of how to reduce the amount of organics and recyclable materials going to landfill.

Students conducting a waste audit

The Environment club from Eden Public School enjoyed a day of learning all about waste on March 31st with staff from BVSC and BEEC. They conducted a waste audit and came up with some terrific ideas about how the school could reduce its waste. Results from the audit showed that if students were able to place all their recyclable materials in a recycling bin and all organic waste in compost bins the school could reduce its waste to landfill by over 50%. The Bega Valley Shire Council will be providing recycling bins to the school for next term, thank you BVSC!

Nicole Challman and her year 7 students from Eden Marine High School worked together with Jules Donne (BEEC) and Sam Ferrara (Bega Valley Shire Council) on the 15th September to tackle waste at the school. The enthusiastic students learnt all about waste and where it goes from Sam and participated in the Waste Relay to get them running. They conducted a waste audit of the playground rubbish bins and discovered that over half their waste going to landfill was made up of organic and recyclable materials.

Tavia Taylor and the fabulous Garden Club at the Snowy Mountains Grammar School in Jindabyne have taken on the challenge of running a waste audit. Edwina Lowe from Snowy Monaro Regional Council joined with Tavia and the students on the 12th September. The students are now working on starting a worm farm at the school so that they can collect organic food scraps. They are also running a ‘plastic free’ day to educate the rest of the school community about sustainability at their school.