In 2017, we began our journey to reduce waste at Badger Creek Primary School.
After discussions with our school cleaners and our business manager, it was apparent that we were not only producing more waste than other, larger, schools in our area, we also were being charged a seemingly excessive amount for dump/skip collection.
From here we decided on three main actions:
- Teachers would work to reduce waste in the classrooms. They worked with the students to set up several waste streams – drawing paper, compost, mixed recycling and landfill. Student monitors helped with this. Teachers were also challenged to consider printing habits etc. Nude food was also encouraged. Students were excited by the challenge and were quick to modify their behaviour.
- The cleaners would reduce the bins to one between two classrooms and would not change the bin liners unless full/necessary, instead opting to tip landfill garbage into the same rubbish bag. This helped reduce waste to landfill.
- Finally, the business manager sought advice from the DET legal team to have the rubbish skip collection contract changed. After several months chasing an amendment, she was successful in reducing the number of skips (from two to one) AND reducing the rate of collections by HALF – thus saving the school $4500 per year!
We are pleased to say that the changes have continued into 2018. More and more students are bringing nude food lunches to school. Teachers are mindful of printing and resource use, often reusing recyclable materials in construction activities, etc. The cleaners are more than supportive of the progress. We are looking at further reducing waste to landfill by reducing the size of classroom bins further and also having just one mid-size bin per area.
We have also enacted a Zero Waste Events policy to guide processes for school events (class parties, special lunches fundraising, after hours events and larger community events). We try our best to limit waste to landfill and actively search for alternatives to single use items. For instance, students bring their own plate and cutlery for the special lunch days. We have also purchased plates, mugs and cups for use at breakfast club, class parties and for events like these. Parents are very supportive of these values.
In Term Two 2018, the junior school (P-2) will be looking at formalising and improving the waste stream management at BCPS. We look forward to updating you all with the progress.