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School Waste Resources
Did you know that up to 86 per cent of the waste a school produces can be recycled or reused? That’s a big figure.
The Actsmart Schools program helps schools establish sustainable waste and recycling systems by providing support, tools and resources, including an easy-to-use best practice guide with step-by-step instructions. The Actsmart Schools Waste Officer is available to visit your school.
Here are some staggering figures from comprehensive waste audits in seven primary and secondary schools in the ACT. They show that we need to act smart in making our schools sustainable, starting now:
- In primary schools, 16% of waste is recyclable paper and cardboard, 48% compostable organics, 22% other recyclable materials, and only 14% garbage.
- In secondary schools, 27% of waste is recyclable paper and cardboard, 29% compostable organics, 29% other recyclable materials, and only 15% garbage.
For more information, or to get more involved at your school, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Actsmart Schools Officers on 6207 6430 or 6207 6317.
The Actsmart Schools program offers FREE services and resources to help schools address waste management.
The Actsmart Schools Waste and Recycling Best Practice Guide provides step-by-step instructions and recommendations to help schools reduce, reuse and recycle their waste and develop a waste and recycling action plan.
The program also provides:
- a free interactive waste display for schools to borrow
- a free compost and worm farm display for schools to borrow (plus bonus teacher activity book and poster)
- advice on a school's waste system and suggested improvements
- free stickers for bins
- presentations and student waste audits with the Waste Education Officer
- free card game 'Trash or Treasure' to reduce contamination in schools
- professional learning on the sustainable management of waste and recycling
- assistance to develop a sustainable procurement policy
- a PowerPoint to educate the whole school on how a typical school waste and recycling system works
- waste-free lunch postcards and posters
- newsletters and case studies on sustainable management of waste: schools waste newsletter and waste case study
Borrow the Interactive Waste Display
Schools can also take advantage of other FREE resources and services, including:
- Tours of the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF): Schools can visit the Recycling Discovery Hub at Hume to see where their recycling and waste goes after it is collected.
- The Actsmart public event recycling program: A free program to help event organisers implement recycling facilities at school fetes, festivals or sporting events.
To access the resources above, or to get more involved at your school, email email@example.com or call the Actsmart Schools Officers on 6207 6430 or 6207 6317.
Actsmart Schools has Waste Curriculum Units (P-Y10). These units are aligned to the ACT Curriculum and complement the Australian Curriculum.
Participate in international, national and local events e.g. National Recycling Week, Nude Food Day. The organisations that run these events have excellent curriculum resources linked to the Australian Curriculum.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Actsmart Schools Officers on 6207 6430 or 6207 6317.
Schools that adopt sustainable waste management strategies and reduce waste going to landfill, can be accredited under the Actsmart Schools program, as reward and recognition for their efforts.
Accredited schools are proven to send 22% less waste (per student) to landfill than schools not accredited. This equates to approximately 1,788 cubic metres of waste diverted from landfill every year, and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 259 tonnes.
Here are FREE tips on changing behaviours, taken from the Actsmart Schools Waste Best Practice Guide provided by Actsmart Schools:
- Ensure bins are set up in stations where a landfill bin is always located next to other bins such as mixed recycling or paper recycling
- Place landfill and recycling stations in the playground and other eating areas – always make sure the bins go back in the same place after they have been emptied
- Make sure you have a system to manage waste - i.e. where will the stations be located, who will empty them? Actsmart Schools can assist you with this
- Use the ‘scrunch’ test to determine if a plastic item can be recycled – if it goes back into shape after being scrunched then it goes into the recycling bin. If it doesn’t go back into shape it goes in the landfill bin (although not 100%, it is still a reliable test)
- Provide clear signage or posters to explain what goes in each bin
- Encourage student teams to monitor recycling and organics bins for contamination
- Present awards to good recyclers at assembly – make it fun!
- Keep waste to a minimum – try to reduce the number of landfill products coming into the school
- Borrow the Actsmart Schools interactive waste display or book a tour to the MRF or landfill
- Motivate staff and students to participate in waste and recycling events (e.g. Nude Food Day)
- Keep the school community informed with reminders via newsletter and at assembly
For more information, or to get more involved at your school, email email@example.com or call Actsmart Schools Officers on 6207 6430 or 6205 1093.