Waste Smart Schools and Families Wrap

That’s a wrap!

The Waste Smart Schools and Families pilot project, which concluded June 2014, explored the potential to divert waste to landfill and reduce contamination of recycling in the City of Boroondara municipality by engaging six Boroondara schools and two Early Education Centres (EEC’s) and their families in waste management activities/behaviours.

Key changes seen in the schools were:

  • Increased number of bins, consistency of bin types, and overall better signage on classroom and playground bins.
  • Introduction of food and garden organics recycling systems.
  • Greater consumption of food within the classrooms before going outside to control waste outcomes.
  • More waste smart initiatives and increased awareness within the school community including nude food programs.
  • Increased cooperation with cleaning contractors on waste management.
  • More opportunities for student leadership and the creation of sustainability teams.

Significant findings from EEC’s were:

  • A decrease in general waste to landfill.
  • Increase in recycling from 18% to 62%.
  • Diversion of paper (14%) and cardboard (37%) recyclables from the general waste stream to recycling stream.
  • 100% diversion of garden organics from landfill waste.

Overall, all schools and EECs reported an increased awareness of waste management behaviours. They also reported that Gould League’s project officer and liaison with local council added the greatest value to the project.

Testimonials from participating schools and EEC’s include:

‘This project made waste reduction an important focus in our school. It brought the issue out and made our school look at what we are doing and what can be done to improve.’

‘…engaging all my staff and getting them all thinking about how to be more sustainable.’

A big thank you to the Metropolitan Waste Management Group for funding the program, City of Boroondara for the partnership, our fantastic council liaison Andrea Lomdahl and colleagues, our engaging project officer Julia Barnes, PreFlight for the development of the online resources and for the time, effort and enthusiasm of the participating schools and EEC’s.

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