Woorabinda is a residential school for 80 grade 4/5 students from across Victoria. Our campus is nestled amongst 100 hectares of protected bushland, natural wetlands, temperate rain forest and grassland. Students from all over Victoria come here to spend time outside enjoying nature for what it has to offer. Woorabinda is a unique Department of Education School due to the fact that the students are provided with three meals a day over their five day educational experience.
When starting the waste module for Resource Smart AuSSi Vic Program, we quickly realised that about 70% of our landfill waste was food from the kitchen/dining room and outdoor eating areas.
Contact was made with Peter Collins sustainability officer from the local Latrobe City Council. Peter is of great assistance in lending his expertise and knowledge of waste management and worm farming. He was able to provide the school with worm farms of his own design which have been of enormous benefit in reducing food waste.
At the beginning of each camp it is important to teach children the reason we have worm farms and the benefits they have for the environment and future before they are taught how to correctly use them. Each meal time a duty group is assigned to correctly separate food waste which is then transferred to the worm farms. The worm farms that we have set up are a very simple system, which shows students that it is something they could easily set up at school and at home.
Although the worm farms are helping to reduce our landfill contribution, we put a strong emphasis on encouraging the children to only take as much food as they know they can eat. At each meal time, Woorabinda teachers actively make children responsible for the waste they are creating. Responsibility in terms of understanding what happens to the food they put into landfill, the concept of waste, sustainable practise and basic resource management. “Chucking food in the rubbish does have an impact down the line.” This is an important message to get across throughout the week.
We have also introduced a colour bin system to help students and staff separate rubbish into recyclables and worm farm food. After completing a waste audit with the local council, we have some baseline data to work with and have recognised areas that need to change. We are committed to reducing our contribution to landfill, and will continue educating children who visit Woorabinda of its importance.