Manly West School Carnival is one of the Northern Beaches’ biggest and most popular school-based community events, taking place every two years, and attracting thousands of attendees.

Its huge popularity has previously led to one notable problem: waste.

This year, the school’s P&C decided to tackle the issue head on, introducing a number of initiatives designed to reduce the amount of material sent to landfill:

  • Making sustainability a core part of carnival communications– and in particular a request for attendees to bring reusable water bottles, bags and coffee cups.
  • Working with the carnival committee and stall holders in the build up to the day to design waste solutions where possible.
  • Contracting Pak360 and WasteNinja to provide compostable foodware and compost bins.
  • Creating a centrally located waste-sorting station to receive all carnival waste, while removing all other waste bins across the site.
  • Organising a roster of volunteers to help at the waste station, undertake roving waste collections, and offer advice to attendees.
  • Ensuring that all taps and bubblers were well signposted for those bringing their own water bottles.

The initiatives were a huge success, with total landfill waste produced falling by 95%. *1

All other waste was sorted and diverted from landfill, including:

  • 3,960l (6x 660l bins) of cardboard, collected by the school’s waste contractor.
  • 939 cans, bottles and cartons taken to the local reverse vending machine.
  • 1,200l of compostable waste processed by WasteNinja.
  • 630l (4.5x 140l bins) of mixed recycling delivered by the school’s waste team to Kimbriki.
  • 200+ jars from the tombola taken to Manly Food Co-Op for re-use.
  • 280l of soft plastics taken to the local Coles for recycling via Redcycle.

The re-use campaign was also effective, with 30% of coffees sold in reusable cups (with all other single-use cups sold on site composted via WasteNinja), and a record low number of bottled water sold on the day. Feedback from children and parents alike was extremely positive, with many commenting that it was good to see the school tackling waste and helping to educate the children about reuse and recycling.

FUN FACT: Sending the food and packaging waste to be composted instead of landfill saved approximately 456Kg of CO2e, or the equivalent of driving a car from Sydney to Perth*2.!

Longer-term, the school’s environment committee hopes to increase ambition further, with plans to substitute compostable foodware for reusable alternatives, and further designing out waste from the Carnival, including the development of a sustainable events policy to guide organisers and suppliers.

*1 - Falling from c6,000l to only 320l.
*2 - Based on a new car emitting c.120g of CO2/km.


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