Wyndham Waste Warriors
Students from Kindergarten to Year 6 have joined forces to create the ‘Wyndham Waste Warriors’. The students began with a waste audit of their playground landfill bin. They soon discovered that lots of the things that were ending up in the landfill bin didn’t need to be there. They weren’t waste items – they were things that could be turned into compost or recycled and made into useful things. After learning about the many reasons why landfill isn’t sustainable the students decided that this was definitely a problem worth solving. It was fantastic to see that even before BEEC staff had returned to the school to help students create an action plan the teachers and students had already:
- asked the store (canteen) to stop putting plastic straws in their drinks
- placed recycling containers in each classroom
- begun collecting soft plastics to take to Coles / Woollies
- started using a reusable sauce container instead of single use sauce sachets at lunchtime
Students then worked on action plans to reduce paper ending up in the landfill bin, to begin composting food scraps, to make sure recyclable materials stay out of the landfill bin and to reduce soft plastics coming to school. Well done ‘Wyndham Waste Warriors’!
What have we done so far:
- Formed a waste team – Wyndham Waste Warriors
- Completed a waste audit with BEEC
- Completed an action plan workshop with BEEC
What are our biggest problems with waste:
- Lots of paper going to landfill
- Lots of compostable material going to landfill
- Recycling items also going to landfill
- Lots of soft plastics coming to school
What are we going to do to reduce the amount of waste to landfill?
- Install compost bins and start collecting our compost scraps
- Ask the store if we can feed their chickens some of our food scraps
- Ask the store to not put straws in our milkshakes
- Place recycling containers in all the classrooms (for paper and other recyclable items) and have a roster to take them out to the recycling bin
- Start collecting soft plastics to take to Coles or Woolworths
- Put signs on all our bins
- Have bin monitors to help let everyone know what goes in what bin
- Make posters and have articles in our newsletter and on our website
Term 1 2020
Wyndham Public School has received funding from the Bega Valley Shire Council to assist with the purchase of compost bins and worm bins, materials to build a bin bay for the school, equipment for bin monitors, additional bins for the school and prizes to award students that are great waste warriors.
This funding will allow the school to begin to put some of their action plans into place.
The project aims to change students behaviour around the sorting of waste – with students becoming more aware of the correct bin to put their waste into. It also hopes to change students attitude towards waste items by helping them realise that not everything they put in the bin is ‘waste’, for example paper can be reused and then recycled and food scraps can be made into compost.
Term 4 2020
The Wyndham Waste Warriors completed their final waste audit on 26th October, 2020.
The school has introduced paper recycling bins and re-use scrap paper collection to all classrooms. Each classroom also has a compost bin, red waste bin and a lost property bin (so items can be re-used). Students have their own re-usable cup at school to use if they forget their drink bottle. The canteen (local shop) now uses paper straws. The school has built a chook pen and the students are hatching chickens. When the chickens are bigger they will be fed the school’s food waste (see photos above).
The results of the audit found:
- 53% reduction of soft plastics in the landfill bin (see graphs below).
- Very low contamination in recycling bin (not part of the audit but photographs taken).
- No re-usable paper in landfill bin (in the first audit A4 paper included some one-sided paper that could have been re-used).
The second audit showed food scraps in the landfill bin, however these food scraps were all from a visiting teacher at the school that was unaware of the waste sorting program. Without these scraps the second audit would have shown zero organic waste in the landfill bin. The students were going to increase signage to include the staffroom.
The introduction of chickens to the school is an ongoing commitment to reducing organic waste in the landfill bin. This alone would reduce the waste to landfill by 30% (by weight of items) or 20% (by number of items). It will be great to watch the students next year continue to tackle the soft plastic waste, further reduce contamination in the recycling bins and increase the food scraps going to the chickens and the compost.