Managing Waste at Mary’s Mount is a Whole School Community Approach

OUR SUSTAINABLE JOURNEY

At the beginning of our journey of becoming a Waste Wise School we were and continue to be motivated by a burning passion to preserve and protect our God given environment and all life that lives within it.

As a single stream Catholic Primary School with children attending from 3 Year old Kindy to Year 6, we are a close and connected community located in the hills of Perth. 

Our journey to becoming a waste wise school began in 2016 when we conducted a waste audit run by our students in Year 5. This audit identified waste streams that could be diverted from landfill, reduced, reused or recycled. We needed to set up systems to divert waste from landfill. We needed to educate, empower and encourage all our stakeholders to contribute, commit and take-action to succeed with our journey in becoming a wiser Waste Wise School by reducing, reusing and recycling our waste. We needed to create community recycling collection points because our students and their families were unaware these streams of waste were able to be recycled.

In terms of waste, a change in our mind set and behaviour needed to be challenged and changed.

RETHINK. REDUCE. REUSE. RECYCLE. 

At Mary’s Mount Primary School we have embedded the message of Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle with our students, staff and wider community and created a community recycling collection point for all our stakeholders. We are currently diverting eight streams of waste that would have otherwise ended up in landfill.

Organic Waste – all food scraps are collected daily in buckets and fed to our two worm farms or compost system. Our goal was to eliminate food waste from going into landfill and we have achieved that.

Recycling– all recyclable items are placed inside our school recycling bins. We have recycling bins alongside landfill bins, all with clear signage of recycling rules. The students attended recycling workshops run by Cleanaway. The students shared the information they learnt with their families through worksheets and questionnaires. Paper waste is collected in separate bins in classrooms. Clean whole paper waste is reused by creating note pads for teachers and staff to reuse. Our goal was to provide a system to recycle general waste for our students, then educate and encourage behaviour changes not only for them and our staff but also to inspire and encourage these changes to their families and friends. This is currently ongoing.

Red Cycling – all soft plastic waste from our pre-primary students and staff are collected and taken to a Red Cycle collection point once a week. We encourage all students to return home all their soft plastic waste on “Take Home Tuesday’s”. This is raising an awareness to avoid soft plastic waste packaging in lunch boxes. The student Green Team suggest alternatives to reduce soft plastic waste in lunchboxes at our school assemblies. Our goal is to eliminate soft plastic waste in lunch boxes by the year 2020. We are on our way to achieving this goal.

Aluminium Cans – We have an aluminium can collection station for our whole school community. We promote that all proceeds from this collection point will benefit Wheelchairs for Kids in disadvantaged communities.

Soap – We have a collection point to recycled unwanted and unused soap. We send the soap to Soap Aid where it is remade and distributed to disadvantaged communities.

Our goal for both aluminium cans and soap collection is to not only benefit our environment but also assist people who are disadvantaged.

Terra Cycle – Oral Care – We have a collection point for our school community to recycle all oral care products from home that would have otherwise ended up in landfill.

Batteries – We have collection tubs for recycling old batteries in each class and the school office, as well as our local Parish- Holy Family Catholic Church Kalamunda.

Printer Cartridges – We have a collection point for recycling printer cartridges from home and school in our office.

Our goal for recycling oral care, batteries and printer cartridges is to create a waste stream diversion from landfill for our community.

HOW WE CREATE SOLUTIONS TO OUR WASTE PROBLEMS

Our school’s waste program is led by a very committed group of adults and students who are all passionate about sustainable waste management and are always looking out for better ways of doing things.

We are most proud of our efforts in implementing and inspiring change – Change to behaviour and change to attitude. We’re open to new ideas and encourage collaboration.

Waste management is embedded into everything we do and is promoted through some of these activities:

“Take Home Tuesdays” – Students take home all single use plastic that they bring to school to raise an awareness at home of the waste their soft plastic packaging produces.

Green Team – A group of students in Years 5 and 6 who oversee our schools recycling who Promoted soft plastic recycling and provided information to families about local drop off points through social media platforms and school newsletters. They also present tips and hints to our whole school at weekly assemblies.

Go Green Days – Wear Green to school to promote recycling and waste reduction.

Waste Audits – Conducted regularly to monitor our waste and where we need to focus our efforts.

Sustainable Scarecrow – Making items out of recycled products and materials.

Staff Waste Diversion System – All staff at MMPS are actively involved in diverting waste from landfill via our staff waste diversion system.

School Events – We encourage families to bring water bottles and their own re-usable coffee cups to school events.

Alternatives to Packaging – Our student green team actively promote alternatives to packaging in lunchboxes.

Worm Wizz – Our Green Team sell Worm Wizz after school assemblies. Proceeds are used to fund other sustainable activities and materials.

School Vegetable Garden – Our school has a vegetable garden in our Nature Play area. Students are encouraged to explore and contribute with their class.

Loose Parts Play – Our Nature Play areas has a Loose Parts Play area where students are encouraged to play, build and be creative with items that would otherwise have ended up in landfill.