5Star Module - WasteWhen looking at waste, we need to think about the materials we use, what we throw away and where.
The first step in managing waste is to minimise the amount of waste produced. The second is to look at ways to reuse materials and the third and last resort is to recycle as much as possible.
A waste management plan in your school will reduce litter, waste and associated disposal costs in your school while creating worthwhile learning opportunities for students.
For the best results, get everyone in your school community committed and involved - the principal, teachers, students, parents and anyone else interested.
What are you already doing to help reduce the amount of waste your school is sending to landfill vs recycling or reusing materials? And what about preventing or decreasing litter? In this section you'll find information on where to start and practical tips on what you can do to help make your school waste smart.
Waste Module Tool and Checklist
The Waste Module Tool is for anyone planning to take on the Waste Module as part of ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic 5Star Sustainability Certification (5Star). The tool outlines the practices required for your school to successfully complete the Waste Module as part of 5Star. Use it to work your way through the module and to help review, evaluate, set baseline information and monitor your school's progress in becoming a ResourceSmart School.
The Waste Checklist gives you a starting point so you can score your school against the criteria required to complete the module.
Certification checklists are available for download on the 5Star Sustainability Certification page.
On the waste resources page you will find a range of resources that will help support you in your ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic journey.
Where to start
The steps below will help you see where you're school is at in terms of being waste smart. It's also the first step in your journey to reach for the stars with ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic 5Star Sustainability Certification.
1. Get informed
The first step in helping you understand your school's waste output, is to download the guide to How to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Waste in Schools from the waste resources page. Associated with the comprehensive guide are some word templates also available to download.
2. Find your local waste management group
By talking with your lour local Waste Management Group and their Regional Education Officer(s) you can get great information and support. Find your local waste management group and make contact to find out how they can help.
3. Assess your school's waste output
Working out your school's current waste output will help you set a benchmark. Once done, you can then monitor for changes and see how you're tracking in becoming a more waste smart school.
Start by reviewing your bills. Get together the last three years worth of school waste collection bills (i.e. the last 12 bills received). Then, enter the bills into a spread sheet or SETS (School Environment Tracking System). If you transfer the data into a graph you can start to analyse:
- how much waste collection has cost on average per year
- how much waste has been collected on average per year
- how much waste your school used per student per year in the last 12 months
- whether the trend increasing or decreasing
- how this result compares with the goal of 0.3m2 of waste per student per year.
4. Carry out an audit or visual assessment of the current waste practices
Doing an audit on your current waste output and practices will help you in getting a complete picture of your school's current water situation.
Your local waste management group will be able to assist you in conducting a waste audit. But why not also draw on the skills of your students? They can be involved in collecting, analysing and creating solutions.
5. Create an action plan
Once you've got your school's benchmark, and have done an audit, you'll be closer to knowing where you can make improvements. Work collaboratively with staff and students to create both an action plan and a timeline with priorities. Ask questions like: What actions should your school take to reduce its waste production?
6. Find out who else can help
There are a number of organisations that run competitions, grants, in kind support, or have free curriculum resources for schools. Some also offer free professional development and leadership opportunities.
Other than your local council some examples include:
- National Recycling Week (November)
- local businesses such as hardware stores and nurseries.
And, ask parents, students or teachers to help research funding opportunities to help pay for the school's waste audit.
Other schools are also a great resource. Read case studies, make contact. Find out what worked, didn't work, where they got their funding from or about their favourite curriculum resource. One place to start connecting with other schools might be to find your local teacher environmental network.
7. Take action!
Consider these simple but effective options to reduce waste and recycle more and become more waste smart:
- Research and implement the best reduce, reuse and recycle options for your school for paper, aluminum, plastic, glass and other materials.
- Set up a compost system. Establish what's needed, who'll look after it, what collection system you'll put in place, and how you'll monitor your composting achievements.
- Locate your nearest drop-off point for television and computer recycling. Even at the end of its useful life, most technology can be recycled and used to create new products.
- Identify a local supplier that recycles suitable toner and ink cartridges. Arrange with them to pick up/drop off and replace cartridges.
- Make your events waste wise. The Sustainable Living Foundation's Sustainable Events Planner will help your school minimise the impact of it's events, regardless of how big or small.
- Look at how can your canteen be more waste wise.
- Set up a green purchasing guide. TheSustainable Living Foundation's sustainable consumer guide provides a good starting point for researching purchasing decisions.
- Think about how litter at school can be reduced. Set up a system to manage litter at school that's not based on punishment.
8. Make waste part of the curriculum
Sustainability topics such as waste provide an opportunity for real, relevant learning. By increasing your students' knowledge and involvement in schools sustainability vision students become more responsive, interested and get to share the success.
Make the most of incorporating school decisions, practices and school visitors into the curriculum. There are many curriculum resources available to assist teachers including the How to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Waste in Schools guide (see waste resources).
Spread the word on what your school is doing and celebrate your achievements. It will help generate engagement within your school as well as the broader community and can foster discussion and new ideas for being even more waste smart. Some actions you could consider are:
- encouraging teachers and students at your school to be savvy about waste
- reporting your progress about initiatives and research regarding waste in the school newsletter, on the website and to local media
- providing annual progress reports
- recognising people who identify new ideas and initiatives
- celebrating and sharing your story with the wider community.
Top | Last updated 25/02/2013