Canberra Region Joint Organisation of Councils  (CRJO) Waste Education

Logo Canberra Region Joint Organisation

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 (CRJO). Bournda Environmental Education Centre runs Waste Education Program for CRJO 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 CRJO.

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CRJO Waste Education Schools Program

Year 5 students from St Peter’s Anglican College took part in the ‘Working with Waste’ program on the 13th June 2019. We visited the school back in 2016 and students from the school were awarded a CRJO waste education grant. It was fantastic to see all the positive waste changes that have been made at the school over the last couple of years. Students are now collecting organic scraps for compost and chickens, collecting soft plastics for Redcycle and have recycling bins throughout the school. The students undertook a waste audit of the landfill bin and discovered that some of the items ending up in the bin could have been placed in one of the other bins they have at the school. The students are now going to look at ways to educate all the students at the school to make sure the right thing is going in the right bin. Great work St Peter’s!

St Peter’s Anglican College

Working with Waste

Three schools in the Hilltops Council area ran waste education programs in Week 5 of Term 2 2019. Glen Harper, from Hilltops Council, and Jules Donne, from Bournda Environmental Education Centre, ran the programs with the students. Wombat Public School and Young North Public School ran the ‘Working with Waste’ programs and completed waste audits of their playground rubbish. Students from the leadership team at Young High School ran the ‘Making Change at School’ program and came up with a number of action plans to help them create change at the school. It was terrific to see so many students so interested in reducing the waste that gets sent to landfill from our schools – great work everybody.

Hilltops Council

Waste Education programs

Council staff speaking with Young High School students

Goulburn Public School took part in the ‘Working with Waste’ education program and Goulburn West Public School and Wollondilly Public School’s took part in the ‘Making Change at School’ education program in Term 1, 2019. A major part of the making change program is for students to think about the main waste challenges at their school and to decide which out of these challenges they think they should try and change. The students brainstorm solutions to the challenges they have identified and collect and compare these ideas. One of the ideas is then chosen per group of students and developed into an action plan. Well done to all the students and teachers that have been involved in this program – we really look forward to seeing some of the action plans in place.

Goulburn Schools

Waste Education programs

Council staff talking to students about waste

Queanbeyan High School, Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council, have completed the CRJO ‘Working with Waste’ program in Term 1, 2019. They have
developed a fantastic action plan for reducing waste to landfill and have been awarded $250 from CRJO waste education to help them put their plans into action. The Eco-Teens of Queanbeyan High School have proposed a two phase approach to educating their school community about waste going to landfill as their action plan. Their first phase will involve signage around the school, on the bins and in the classrooms and the second phase involves planning an Environment Day for the wider community. This amazing group of high school students have loads more ideas as well including saying no to straws, offering recyclable cups instead of no-recyclable ones, nude food mufti days and cleaning up litter around the school. The group will be meeting each fortnight to work on their action plan.

Queanbeyan High School’s


group of students involved in the waste audit

Karabar High School and Queanbeyan Public School, both from Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council, completed the ‘Working with Waste’ challenge in Term 1, 2019. A team of very enthusiastic teachers and students completed the waste audit for Karabar High School. It was great to see so many teachers joining in on the program! Together they sorted waste into three piles – recycling, compost and landfill waste. Students discussed how a lot of what would have being going to landfill didn’t have to be – they found uneaten food waste, lot’s of soft plastics and bottles that could be going to return and earn. Stage 2 students from QPS began their day with a recycling relay and learnt about all the items they could turn into something else instead of sending to landfill. The students worked through a number of different activities to help with their understanding about waste and how we can reduce what we send to landfill.

Working with Waste

in Queanbeyan

students completing a waste audit

Year 9 and 10 students from Snowy Mountains Christian School found in their waste audit that soft plastics were a major part of what their school was sending to landfill each week. After completing the ‘Working with Waste’ program the students created an action plan for their school. Their action plan was to implement soft plastic bins at the school – which they have already done. 5 x 27L bins have been placed around the school and soft plastics are collected and sent to Coles and Woolworths soft plastic recycling pick up each Friday. The students have been awarded a $250 waste education grant from CRJO waste education program to help support their action plan. Fantastic work students and teachers!

Snowy Mountains Christian

School – Soft Plastic recycling

students completing a waste audit

St. Patricks Parish School in Cooma have completed the ‘Working with Waste Program’ and are receiving their $500 CRJO waste education grant money. Since then they have been doing fabulous things with their waste – with 5 different types of collection bins in the playground. In Week 8 of this term the Year 5 students took part in CRJO’s ‘Making Change at School’ program and came up with some fantastic ways to work through the challenges they are facing. Two of these ideas were giving all the bins a name like ‘Rex the Recycling Bin and Lenny the Landfill bin’ and writing a rhyming song to teach the younger students in the school. Awesome work students and teachers!

St Patrick’s Parish School, Cooma

‘Making Change at School’

students completing a worksheet for the program

Stage 3 students from Bodalla Public School in the Eurobodalla Shire Council took on the challenge of completing a waste audit as part of the ‘Working with Waste Challenge’. The students worked well sorting through their playground rubbish. They created three piles – one of items that needed to go to landfill, and the others that didn’t need to be going to landfill. The students weighed the piles of recycling, compost and landfill to work out how much of each they had. The students discussed how to reduce the amount of waste the school sends to landfill.

Bodalla Public School

Eurobodalla Shire Council

students completing a waste audit

Pambula Public School, in the Bega Valley Shire Council, was our first school to take part in the new CRJO waste education program ‘Making Change at School’. This group of amazing Year 5 girls are certainly making change and have their own waste warrior identity – ‘The Plastic Patrol’! The new program gives students a structure around the process of making change, they work through the waste problems they see at school and work creatively to solve these problems. These girls are working on making things fun by having rewards and prizes for litter pick up and making the right bin choices, trying to make the canteen plastic free and creating a flyer to send home to parents about reducing plastic waste in lunch boxes. Plastic Patrol – you are an inspiration to us all, keep up the great work!

Pambula Public School –

‘The Plastic Patrol’

plastic patrol from pambula public school

Tathra Public School takes on the waste challenge at school!

Students from Tathra Public School have decided to take on the war on waste at their school and invited Bournda EEC staff to come along for the day and help them. The students discussed the issues surrounding waste generation at the school and then completed a waste audit of their general waste and recycling bins. They discovered that while students were placing most of the recyclable materials in the correct bin (which was great!) some students were also placing other waste in the recycling bin as well. They looked at the waste that was ending up in the general waste bin and decided that the school needs to work on sorting it’s waste into the correct bin and reducing the amount of soft plastic packaging it produces. They also found some interesting items like a full can of paint, a brick and many uneaten sandwiches. The students are now looking at creating an action plan to make some changes at their school.

‘Working with Waste’ at Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council and Snowy Mountains Regional Councils in June, 2018

Students and teachers from 4 schools across two council areas completed waste audits as part of the ‘Working with Waste’ program in June, 2018. Each of the schools learnt about recycling, the importance of sorting our waste, the reasons why we need to worry about the amount of waste we are producing and how to run a playground rubbish waste audit. All schools felt that it was time to start reducing the amount of waste they are sending to landfill, and to begin to turn some of our ‘waste’ items into useful things. Lots of ideas were discussed from chickens at school to waste free days to providing more bins to sort waste into. Thanks to Edwina Lowe (SMRC) and Vanessa Palmer (QPRC) who worked with the schools and with BEEC on the days.

‘Working with Waste’ at Merimbula Public School and Candelo Public School, Bega Valley Shire Council

Students and teachers from 2 public schools in the Bega Valley Shire Council participated in the ‘Working with Waste’ program in May 2018. The students at both schools were very eager to learn about waste as they had been studying this area in class. The students had fantastic ideas about how we can tackle the war on waste at our schools and also about why waste is such an issue for everyone. Each school conducted a waste audit and discussed the results. Merimbula Public School collected all the soft plastic they found in their waste stream and organised for them to be dropped off at Woolworths for soft plastic recycling. They also took all the food scraps to their compost and worm farms at the school garden. Both schools discussed the idea that we could easily reduce the amount of waste we are sending to landfill by making sure we sort our waste and get it in the right bin! Thank you to Joley Vidau from Bega Valley Shire Council who worked with BEEC to deliver the program.

Beat Plastic Pollution – World Environment Day

Stage 2 and 3 students from a range of schools across the Bega Valley Shire Council came together for an ‘Art and Action’ day where they tackled the World Environment Day theme ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’. Students discussed issues around plastic pollution and its problems and came up with positive ideas that they could implement in their homes and schools. The student’s artwork was displayed at the World Environment Day dinner held in Bega, NSW on June 5th, 2018.

artwork showing students message in a bottle about plastic pollution

Yass Valley Council Waste Education Week

Five schools in the Yass Valley council LGA took part in a ‘Working with Waste’ program in Week 5 of Term 1. Students worked with Carina Martin (Yass Valley Council) and Jules Donne (BEEC). Binalong Public School, Yass Public School, Mt. Carmel Primary School, Berinba Public School and Sutton Public School are all taking on the waste challenge this year. Well done to all those schools and to Yass Public School who have been awarded a $500 CRJO waste education grant to help the school implement a whole school waste sorting program which they believe will reduce their landfill contribution by up to two-thirds! Awesome work.

Go MAD camp 2017

Students from Bega High School (Bega Valley Shire Council) and Narooma, Moruya and Batemans Bay High Schools (Eurobodalla Council) joined forces at Bournda EEC on the 5th and 6th of December to share waste and recycling projects from their schools. Each school has been working on creating a film to showcase their projects as part of the GoMAD program. Despite the weather (it poured with rain!) the students worked together on a number of activities, including a brainstorm of shared ideas for the future. The films were shared in the evening at a movie premiere under the stars – films can be viewed at 

Three schools in the Goulburn Mulwaree Council area are tackling the war on waste after completing the CRJO waste education program ‘Working with Waste’. Jules Donne (BEEC) and Hannah Cotton (Goulburn Mulwaree Council) worked with students from Goulburn West Public School, The Crescent School and Wollondilly Public School over two days in November, 2017. The students completed a waste audit of playground rubbish and learnt about why we should worry about where our waste ends up. Wollondilly Public School have already come up with an action plan to continue to tackle waste issues around the school after discovering how many food scraps they had in their waste stream. They hope to implement this in Term1, 2018.

Narooma PS students getting ready for a waste audit

Year 6 students from Narooma Public School (Eurobodalla Shire Council) completed the ‘Working with Waste’ program on October 30th with Jules Donne (BEEC). The students learnt all about waste and recycling from the great video by Eurobodalla Shire Council: ‘Good Sorts – your guide to recycling’. They were then challenged to think about their waste, who they think is responsible and why we should need to worry about where our waste ends up. They learnt about the power of sorting waste and played a waste sorting game. A waste audit of playground rubbish was then completed where they found out exactly how much waste they could divert from landfill. The school already has in place some great systems for dealing with waste, so the students then brainstormed ways they could improve on these systems.

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 (CRJO) 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.