Catholic Education South Australia
24 Nov 2016
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St Raphael’s School Top Award for wiping out waste

Reducing landfill waste by a massive 80% at St Raphael’s School in Parkside was one of the main reasons that they were presented with a KESAB Wipe Out Waste Award for the “Greatest Reduction of Materials to Landfill by a Primary School Site” this week.

Following an excursion to the Wingfield Waste and Recycling Centre and completion of a waste audit under the guidance of KESAB, St Raphael’s School in Parkside introduced a number of initiatives aimed at reducing their ecological footprint. Removal of rubbish bins from around the school challenged students, parents and staff to make more informed decisions relating to how they managed their waste. The introduction of labelled recycling stations, where students recycle everything from drinking straws, used tissues, soft plastics and deposit containers has been the key driver in this massive reduction in landfill waste. The school has reduced its weekly waste output from 10 council rubbish bins to just 2!

Some of the other initiatives that have been introduced by the school include:

  • Organics composting which is then used on the school vegetable gardens
  • Students have made their own sandwich wraps using fabric and wax to eliminate the need to cling wrap on lunches
  • Changes to canteen options to incorporate more recyclable containers for food service
  • The school has also introduced a Gardening Club and Student Walking Group as part of their sustainability and health focus this year.

Parents have been actively supporting the students and the school by reducing the amount of packaging that is used in lunchboxes and making some alternative food choices for their children.

Some of the things that students have said:

“We can really make a difference to the environment of we all try.”

“We have learned that there are lots of items that we can recycle, not just paper, cans and jars.”

“We recycle plastic straws and plastic bottle tops by putting them in a plastic milk bottle then that goes in the recycling bin.”

“Tissues and bones can go in the organic waste bin”

“Soft plastics like Glad wrap, chip packets, muesli bar wrappers and yogurt pouches get recycled at Woolworths and Coles stores.”

“I really like recycling because it helps the environment and it is really easy to do.”

“It is about making our world healthier for kids in the future.”

School Principal, Leanne Lawler has been absolutely astounded by what the school has been able to achieve. “I am so proud of all our students and families for their efforts and support of this initiative. We have a core group of very proactive, energetic and passionate staff who are driving this program and it has been well and truly embraced by our entire school community,” she said.

“It has been a really powerful lesson for all of our students about how they can work together to have an impact and drive change”.

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