The Sustainability and Environment Team recently upgraded the staff room bin system to 4 bins; Recyclables, Green Waste, Soft Plastics and Landfill. Signage was created with examples of what to put in each bin. The team were keen to encourage the staff to use the bins properly and an email to all staff was sent out with the subject line reading “Lucky us! Whitefriars Staff, Proudly Sustainable with our Waste”.
The email then went on to say, “As a staff, we are able to manage our waste to have minimal environmental impact. Please familiarise yourself with the bins. The following sign is on the fridge and bench tops. Thanks for staff who are supportive. Those who are pushed out of their comfort zone, please ask for assistance. ANY FEEDBACK, GOOD OR BAD, PLEASE ADDRESS TO ME, NOT KEELY!”
Over the years, as an Environment Facilitator, I have found the way actions are communicated, is almost just as important as the action. Being positive, humorous and genuine in your approach is paramount. After sending this email, a few staff responded with positive comments and the team have found that majority of staff are grateful and using the bins effectively. Keely, the staffroom manager was receiving a few complaints about there being too many bins, the compost was smelly etc. The was not communicated and so there was some hostility as it wasn’t be addressed. So another important point is to remind staff to communicate good and bad feedback.
The team empty the green waste bin and put in the compost bins. The soft plastics is collected by a staff member and dropped off at the local Coles/Woolworths REDcycle program. The cleaners then empty the recycle and landfill bin into the recycle and landfill skips.
This bin system has now been rolled out into the LOTE, Science, PE/Sports and Performing Arts Staff rooms. The difference I have found is that staff are now contacting the team and requesting a better system, rather than the team encouraging a change. Staff action has been very pleasing and model proper waste management behaviour to students.
The Sustainability and Environment Team can genuinely promote the college as a Waste Smart School when the new bin system is being embraced.