Author: Alicia Jooste
Students from Immanuel Primary School in Adelaide have set a bold new goal to reduce the entire school’s waste to one wheelie bin per week.
Not stopping there, the students are determined to remove waste bins from their campus altogether in seven years.
The goal stems from South Australia’s Wipe Out Waste schools program which aims to assist all campuses, from pre-school to year 12, reduce waste in a whole school community approach.
Wipe Out Waste recognise that for the program to be sustainable, the change must come from the students, and at Immanuel Primary School grade 3 and grade 5 students are participating in ‘sharing the planet’ lessons.
It was here that a group of grade 5 students, inspired by what they had learned, decided to adopt the challenge to make the school landfill-free.
After deciding on their goal, the students’ next step was to set up recycling and compost bins throughout the school. This process also included teaching the students how to use them to limit their waste.
“The hard thing is just changing the habits and reducing plastic wrap,” Immanuel Primary School’s Sarah Nash said.
To keep the school on track, a group of students throughout the year conduct a general waste audit and are also encouraged to create recycling and compost programs.
The teachers have recognised that the students, who are now in grade 6, are passionate about the program’s success.
“I’ve learned that we all need to reduce our waste and not use too much plastic,” Emily said.
“I’ve been asking my parents to put less things in plastic. They are not doing too well but they are getting a little bit better.”
Such programs allow students to actively participate in shaping the environment they want to see, not only within school but at home and hopefully within their wider communities.
As seen here, a key factor is providing the space for students to learn and experiment with ways to protect the environment and think up creative solutions.
Alicia worked at Planet Ark in 2016.