Friday, February 23, 2024

Recycling message not going to waste on Bega Valley schools

Students from Eden Public School recently got to work on reducing waste and championing resource recovery in the classroom as part of Bega Valley Shire Council’s ‘Let’s Get it Sorted’ program.

The Eden Green Gang are among students from 15 local schools who have been promoting landfill avoidance through the Council program since 2019.

Council’s Waste Strategy Coordinator, Tim Cook said the program funds school waste education through an annual contribution of $33,000 to the Bournda Environmental Education Centre.

“These students are taking the message of resource recovery from the classroom to home and out into the community,” Mr Cook said.

“Through this program a message of waste avoidance and increased recycling is filtering through into measurable actions that make a real difference.

“Students are learning about the impact waste has on our community and with help from staff at the Bournda Environmental Education Centre, they are showing their peers, teachers, families and community that changes can be made with the right actions.”

Mr Cook said a key message students from participating schools learn from the program is to change the way they think about waste – looking at typically throw-away items as potentially valuable resources.

“Scraps from student lunchboxes, plastic bottles, paper and clippings from school gardens are all common things we find in school waste audits and all are reusable resources if they are sorted into the right bin.”

“We sometimes hear that recycling can be too hard or confusing to get right. Well here we have local primary school students showing everyone how it’s done,” he said.

Mr Cook said the program was an ongoing success that inspires the next generation of waste managers by delivering immediate results.

“Through regular bin audits, the students get to see what waste minimisation looks like and we’re seeing some tremendous achievements, with audit results showing up to a 90% reduction in waste to landfill.”

“This comes from a unique partnership between Council’s waste team, the Bournda Environmental Education Centre staff and schools with motivated students and teachers.

“We encourage schools to maintain momentum through our Category A Community Waste Grants program, which assists implementation of resource recovery action plans.

“Whether introducing FOGO to school for the first time, spreading the message beyond the classroom, or initiatives like single-use plastic reduction and waste-free snacks sold through canteens, it’s incredibly rewarding to see future leaders in waste reduction emerging here in the local schools,” he said.

For more information on the Let’s Get it Sorted program and Schools Waste Program, visit the Bournda Environmental Education Centre website.

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