Throughout 2020 and 2021 we have been focussing on completing our Waste module as part of our ResourceSmart Schools certification process. We are already a 2 star school, and we are getting excited to add a third star!
Prior to completing the Waste module the schools waste to landfill was at 0.17m3 per student per year. This was already under the benchmark set by Sustainability Victoria of 0.3m3 per student per year. However, as part of the learning activities for this module our green team conducted a waste and litter audit of our school bins and school grounds. We identified areas we could focus on to reduce our waste to landfill, and were quite proud of how little litter our students are generating. We are rubbish bin free school in the school grounds, and encourage our students to pack ‘Nude Food’ lunches free of any single use plastic. Our students are encouraged to take home any single use plastics for recycling as well. We manage our own green waste by either composting it, feeding it to our worm farm, or depositing it in our green cone. Our green cone has been a great way to quickly and efficiently break down green waste and let the nutrients feed the soil of our gardens. Overall, we do a lot to manage our waste streams.
While the actual volume of our landfill is still quite small, our bills report the volume of our skip which means that our data does not represent what we actually generate. We are looking at this for future reporting. But our choice to use a paper and cardboard recycling skip has been hugely successful. The majority of our waste is paper and cardboard which can be recycled. This has helped make a meaningful impact on what we throw in the bin.
The biggest benefit of completing our Waste module has been in the education and cultural change we have seen in the school. Our garden club, compost monitors, 3/4 Green Gang and our year 5 Sustainability leaders excel in environmental leadership in our school. The programs that we have implemented prior to and through completing the waste module appear to be making a difference on a whole school scale with a reduction in the schools waste to landfill since commencing the module.