What has your school done to reduce single use plastics?

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St Kieran’s Primary School Manly

Gone plastic straw free at the school canteen (with the exception of Nudie juices). It has been a smooth transition as the students are beginning to understand the negative impact single use plastic has on our environment.

Wheeler Heights Public School 

Single use plastics have been eliminated from the school canteen and replaced with reusable items including long life lunch bags, containers, cutlery and drink bottles. Students place these items in canteen reusable bins after they have eaten, the bins are emptied multiple times per week and the reusables are washed, then reused again in the canteen.

Dee Why Public School 

Eliminated their single use plastic serve ware from the school canteen and replaced them with bamboo and corn starch items. Plastic fish soy sauce and tomato sauce sachets have been replaced by refillable soy and tomato sauce bottles at the counter. Their canteen manager has had a great time helping the children master this life skill.  They have even had a set of stairs made for the canteen so the smaller children can reach the bottles themselves. They no longer use glow sticks at their discos. Any soft plastics still used are collected by volunteer parents and taken to the REDcycle bins found at most local supermarkets for recycling into outdoor school furniture.  The school community collects plastic Aussie Bread Tags for Wheelchairs charity, and oral health waste is collected and recycled with Terracycle.

Bilgola Public School 

Their biggest source of waste was their canteen.  By purchasing reusable items such as utensils, cups, containers, lunch bags as well as eliminating straws, they were able to reduce their waste dramatically. To make sure the transition ran smoothly, a new industrial dishwasher was installed and trolleys for collecting the new reusable items were introduced. Their next move was to source food from suppliers who used minimal packaging. They cooked and prepared all food in the canteen and their gardens helped supply produce package free. Their garbage bins were replace with food scrap bins for composting and the students are encouraged to pack zero waste lunches.

Northern Beaches Secondary College (NBSC), Cromer Campus

New colourful water stations have replaced their old leaking bubblers with a focus on refilling bottles and less about bubblers. This decision ended up working well during COVID-19 where bubblers would not have been able to be used. Their water stations are Australian made, robust and made from recycled material, another win for the environment!

Bilgola Plateau Public School OOSH Centre

The centre is reducing their use of single use plastics, by making beeswax wraps and purchasing food that has no single use plastics. Any paper bags the food comes in is used for craft purposes.They avoid packaged food by growing fresh produce for their afternoon tea in a wicking bed and they cook their own food during Camp Bilgola avoiding packed lunches.  They avoid other plastics such as textas and have reduced their craft orders and hence single use plastics by repurposing materials such as milk cartons, cereal boxes, bottle tops, and natural materials pine cones, gumnuts and leaves for craft activities. Any single use plastics they can't avoid staff take home for recycling where appropriate.  They take cartridges, batteries and pens away for recycling. 

So that the children understand the affect single use plastics have on the environment they created a  'beach' scene, complete with sand, water and sea animals. They contaminated the water with plastic rubbish so the children could visually witness what single use plastics are doing to our oceans. They also have a worm farm and compost bins for food waste.  Saves wrapping food waste in plastic bags which end up in landfill.

Manly West Public School

In 2021, Manly West Primary School Year 6 community aimed for a zero waste school graduation. All decorations were made from paper, natural-fibre twine (compostable) or materials collected from the garden (bark, leaves, sand). All non-compostable materials (glass jars; blue-tak; painted branches; fairy lights) will be used for future events for years to come. With permission from the venue (Manly Golf Club) a group of volunteers from Manly West community (parents and students) banded together to craft simple but striking window and table dressings as well as a large “2021” sign for a photo booth. The decorations were so impressive that parents from other local primary schools requested to re-use them at their Year 6 Graduations in the following weeks.  Manly West Year 6 Graduation party decorations were all compostable, recyclable and reusable and brought local schools together towards a zero-waste future!