By Loretta Leary, Mount Waverley Primary School
In 2010 Mount Waverley Primary School continued the journey towards becoming an accredited Sustainable School through AuSSi (Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative). As a school we are aware that waste is an ongoing issue for both our school and the environment. Our goal is to be more than waste wise…we want to be waste free!
In order to achieve these goals, MWPS has developed a co-ordinated whole school approach to environmental sustainability. We have:
• Implemented a “Bring It In Take It Home” policy whereby all food rubbish is taken back home by students.
• provided all classrooms and administration offices with paper recycling boxes
• provided all classrooms with food scrap buckets
• provided recycling buckets for bottles and cans
• recycled ink, toner and laser printer cartridges for a small return that has supplemented the Environment budget
• encouraged all staff to minimise paper usage by photocopying on both sides of the paper and reducing copies where possible eg.: sharing class sets of copies with team members, shrinking A3 (or two A4) copies to one A4 and encouraging students to share copies when possible
• lodged documents for staff on the network where possible to minimise distribution of hard copies eg. Meeting minutes, planners, newsletters
• turned off of lights and computer monitors when the classroom is not in use for more than 15 minutes in order to save on energy wastage
• ensured that computers and monitors are switched off at the end of each day and switched off at the power points over the weekends and holiday breaks to save on energy wastage
• avoided excessive use of heaters and air conditioners, especially when classrooms will be empty for more than ½ hr to save on energy wastage
• ensured the staffroom dishwasher is not run on less than a ¾ full load in order to minimise water wastage
• involved students in a number of school-based activities, such as environmental auditing of school resource use and waste management
• held regular Rubbish Free Lunch days (every Wednesday) inclusive of the state wide Rubbish Free Lunch Day Challenge and national Nude Food Day
• written and implemented bi-yearly, a whole school inquiry based Environmental Sustainability curriculum of which Level 2’s unit is called Waste Not, Want Not.
• Implemented Target Tuesday where the whole school cleans the yard and all rubbish is placed on a target with the goal being “Target Zero Rubbish”.
• Participate in Clean Up Australia Day
However in 2008, building works began in the school as part of the school’s upgrade and sustaining a waste wise program became a challenge in itself. With buildings being demolished and classrooms moving from room to room, the commitment and determination of the staff and students kept all of the recycling programs running fairly smoothly. On the odd occasion a bin would be misplaced or a room not emptied of its waste but we just muddled through and have worked around the building sites.
Throughout 2009 and 2010 we have continued in our quest towards becoming an accredited Sustainable School through AuSSi (Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative). Our strongly enforced “Bring It In Take It Home” policy have ensured that the students are required to take their rubbish home. The Grade 3s have continued to recycle the bottles and cans, the Grade 4s have been master worm farmers and the Grade 5s have continued to recycle the paper and cardboard through adversity and about sixteen different school map changes. The Grade 1s and 2s have continued to recycle the water from the drinking taps ensuring that not a single drop of water goes to waste. And again, just as the energy levels were waning, Kirsty Costa came in and gave us the encouragement we needed to finish off the waste and water modules and continue our quest to becoming an accredited Sustainable School through AuSSi (Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative).
Next we tackle our third star…..reaching higher and helping the planet one piece of paper at a time.