Tathra Trash Trackers

The ‘Tathra Trash Trackers’ are an amazing group of Stage 3 students from Tathra Public School. They completed a waste audit with BEEC in Term 3, 2019. The students were already sorting their waste into recycling, FOGO and landfill at school – so each of the three bins were sorted to determine the contamination rates in the bins. It was amazing to see that the FOGO had 0% contamination. Fantastic work Tathra Public School! What the students did find was FOGO items in both the other bins, the recycling bin had lots of contamination and there was a large percentage of soft plastics in the landfill bin.

One inspiring group of students had also spent two days collecting all the litter in the playground. They identified that out of 271 litter items collected and sorted 59% were landfill items (mostly soft plastics), 34% recyclable items and 7% FOGO. At least 40% of the total amount of litter collected was soft plastics.

The students decided that the biggest waste issues that needed solving at school were:

  • reducing soft plastics at school,
  • addressing cross contamination regarding recycling and
  • general recycling and waste sorting education.

Students have also worked on action plans to introduce bin monitors, educate other students and create a bin station and signage for all the bins.

Students sorting waste
Sorting recycling
Students writing action plans
Students collecting data

What have we done so far:

  • Formed a waste team – ‘Tathra Trash Trackers’
  • Completed a waste audit with BEEC
  • Completed an action plan workshop with BEEC

What are our biggest problems with waste:

  • Lots of contamination in the recycling bin
  • Lots of soft plastics coming to school
  • Some FOGO items not going in FOGO bin

What are we going to do to reduce the amount of waste to landfill?

  • Make a bin station for all bins and create signs
  • Have bin monitors to make sure the right things go in the right bin
  • Promote Trash Free Tuesday throughout the school
  • Award prizes to students who do the right thing
  • Regular waste audits

Term 1 2020

Tathra Public School has received funding from the Bega Valley Shire Council to enable them to purchase a 3 waste bin station, t-shirts and materials for the students so they can work as bin monitors, equipment so the school can run their own waste audits and prizes to encourage students to do the right thing with their waste.

This funding will allow the school to begin to put some of their action plans into place.

Once the program has begun, the emphasis will be on students taking responsibility for their waste. Students will also be able to offer support and education to other students to promote a culture of responsibility when it comes to waste. The project will promote waste free lunches, offer random prizes for waste free heroes which will help reduce plastic waste within the school.