In 2017 we began focussing on completing the Waste Module and have been working towards achieving our third star. St Mary of the Cross Mackillop Catholic Parish Primary School was established in 2013. As our school community grew, we noticed an increase in our waste consumption. Our three cubic meter landfill waste bin increased from fortnightly collections to weekly and our recycle bin went from monthly to fortnightly collections. Our student Sustainability Teams also noticed an increase in waste and litter on our school grounds.
Since beginning the Waste Module, the students at SMCM have taken actions which were both student and teacher led. A Senior and Middles Sustainability Team was established as well as Garden Club and Sustainability Club. The main goals for these teams and clubs is to reduce waste consumption, educate others about the impact of waste on our environment and work together to improve our local environment. Throughout Inquiry units, students in all levels have engaged in sustainability learning.
Our achievements so far while working towards achieving the Waste Module include:
Working towards being a paperless school:
- Online newsletter (no printed copies sent home)
- First aid forms, early/late arrival forms are online via SkoolBag App
- Paperless Reports (including PLPs) through online reporting system Blogger
- Online Homegroup learning blogs for communication of parent and student information and updates
- Staff planning and shared documents on Google docs. No hard copies of planning documents
- Use of Google docs for student learning activities and shared through Hapara- where possible, in order to reduce printing of student learning activities
Improved bin systems:
- Compost bins allocated throughout school where students dispose of food scraps. Bins are emptied into large compost bin which is maintained by school maintenance and reused in our gardens
- Food scraps from staff kitchen are fed to our resident hens
- Peer teaching about how to sort waste in Landfill and recycling
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle:
- ‘Think Green’ action developed by Middles Sustainability Team in 2018
- Registered with Terracyle to recycle our old stationary. Each building has a ‘Stationary Recycle Bin’ which is emptied each week by the Sustainability Team
- Reusing stationary that has been discarded for students who want to draw or colour during breaktime
- Reducing waste at school events- no plastic bottles at School Disco. Students bring their own reusable water bottles from home.
Mobile phone recycling- seniors 2018 Save the Gorillas
Using recycled materials in Discovery Learning
Reducing Food Wrappers:
- Nude Food Warriors- each class has a daily wrapper count. The class with the least wappers for the week are crowned the ‘Waste Warriors of the Week’
- Class reward systems and school awards for students who show bring zero waste to school or show initiative and actions that help reduce waste
Garden Club and Sustainability Clubs established
- Garden club is a teacher led Club where students learn about caring and maintaining a safe and healthy environment. The club runs once a week during breaktime and it is open for anyone who would like to join. Students can come and go as they please from the club. The focus has been on developing our vegetable garden, worm farm and keeping our wetlands healthy for our local frogs and ducks. We have recently teamed up with our local Bunnings for some expert advice.
- The Sustainability Club was developed by a group of Year 3 students in 2018. The aim of the group is to help keep our school grounds free of rubbish so that it doesn’t end up in our waterways and harm animals. This group is extremely self motivated and they have continued the club in 2019, where they have reached out for assistance in developing their club further and communicating with the community via the school blogs and Twitter.
Senior and Middles Sustainability Teams
- These Teams are established as part of school leadership teams where students select an area of interest that they would like to focus on for the year. These teams work with the Sustainability Staff Leader in order to assess the needs, concerns and issues within our community around Sustainable practices and issues. The teams are responsible for collecting and analysing data and developing community actions. They engage in peer teaching through weekly messages, maintaining the composting and stationary recycling bins, Nude Food weekly challenge etc.