How many recyclables do you send to landfill?
It’s a question most of us could not precisely answer but for Glendore Public School saving more than 47,000 poppers, cans and bottles from its garbage bins over the last two-and-a-half-years has shown just how much students can reduce their waste footprint.
The school’s efforts have been so large, it was awarded a Keep Australia Beautiful Award.
Kerryanne Patterson is the teacher behind the idea and says the school is honoured to have won the Return and Earn Litter Prevention Award.
“We were pretty pleased to win because we were up against a large number of schools,” she said.
“To be rewarded for what we’ve done is incredible – it was empowering because it’s given us the opportunity to talk to other schools and share what we do.”
The idea began through discussions Ms Patterson was having in her classroom.
“We started off through science looking at sustainability and we had to come up with ideas that we could implement and change in the school itself, so the students looked at turning off lights and fixing dripping taps to reduce the impact we have on the environment.
“Then we did an audit of the school and noticed we had a large amount of rubbish that went from what we ate or drank into the bins, so we wanted to look at ways we could reduce our impact on the environment and one of the students came up with the idea that we could use the return and earn facilities to recycle and by doing that we reduced, by 20%, the waste that was going into the bins.”
She adds the 10 cents they received for each item was a huge bonus for the school.
“We looked at the fact we wanted to reduce the impact we have on the environment but we also wanted to teach children about recycling so they can do it at home,” Ms Patterson said.
“But we were able to use the funds for projects like our breakfast club, our at risk or vulnerable arts groups and also the Aboriginal girls’ group, Sista Speak.”
Year 2 student Logan adds it is important to look after the environment.
“I like recycling because I like helping our school community,” he said.
“I think recycling is important because we need to look after the planet”.
It’s an initiative the students have taken in their stride and, with beaming grins on their faces, you can tell they are proud.
“You can see the kids growing confidence from being involved in this program because they have that greater sense of responsibility to the environment and the school community as well, they feel like they are contributing something that is really worthwhile,” Glendore Public School Assistant Principal Samantha McDowell said.