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Innovative Project Aims to Drastically Reduce Waste Across Northern Beaches’ Schools

Source: Northern Beaches Council
Posted: 10 Apr 2018
Northern Beaches Councilís Coastal Environment Centre (CEC) is driving a pilot project in collaboration with Wheeler Heights Public School which has eliminated single-use plastics from their canteen and hopes to significantly cut the amount of waste the school produces.

Following the successful completion of a six-month trial, due to finish mid-year, the program will be rolled out at other schools across the Northern Beaches, potentially diverting tonnes of rubbish from landfill each year.

Mayor Michael Regan said the program shows real commitment and willingness from locals to support Council’s goal of becoming a single-use plastic free community.

“I want to publicly congratulate the Wheeler Heights Public School students, parents and staff who have so enthusiastically taken up this challenge.

“We’re thrilled to be empowering students to choose alternatives to single-use plastics,” Mayor Regan said.

The project was initiated following the completion of a waste audit by the CEC which showed the school produced around 45kg of waste per day, much of which was single-use plastic and food.

The CEC team met with teachers to formulate a plan to reduce waste, which resulted in the school purchasing a canteen dishwasher along with reusable plates and other utensils, and new recycling bins to separate rubbish.

The CEC is providing ongoing support to ensure the program is sustainable long term, including training students and staff at the school in the maintenance of newly established composting worm farms and educating ‘Sustainability Leaders’ from each grade, who help to inspire fellow students.

Wheeler Heights Public School principal David Scotter and canteen manager Sherene La Grasse said the project was showing ongoing positive impacts.

“I am delighted that our entire school community has embraced the initiative so positively. Students from ages 5-12 now have a far better understanding of sustainability and how we can all make a difference.

“I am certain that many of our young sustainability leaders will be leading advocates for environmental change in the future,” Mr Scotter said.

At the end of the six-month trial, the CEC will perform a second waste audit to determine the reduction in waste and look at opportunities for further improvement, before rolling the program out to other local schools.

 
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