Plastic Free July in Action!
School Stories: Hilton Primary School
Since becoming a waste wise school, Hilton Primary School has embraced Plastic Free July. At lunchtime students are encouraged to have a waste free lunch box every day, but on Tuesdays senior students survey the lunch boxes and take a tally of how each classroom is going. Some classrooms are up to 80% plastic free! At the end of term the winning class is announced.
In order to make waste free lunches easier for students some parent helpers visited the year 5/6 class to make bees wax sandwich wraps. All 31 students made their own sandwich wrap (plus several extras for siblings, aunties and friends). The P&C thought this was such a good idea they ran a stall at the Growers Green Farmers Market to raise awareness of Plastic Free July and to run the wrap activity. People at the markets cut out fabric and ironed on the wax with help from Hilton Primary School students, parents and a teacher. In four hours they made 65 wraps and raised over $400 for the P&C.
In the classroom students were treated with a talk from Rebecca from Plastic Free July. Students were keen to share their plastic free lunch box tips with her.
Students have also started to recycle toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and packaging which is plastic that is pretty hard to avoid.
School Stories: Iona Presentation College
Earth Carers and students from Iona conducted a river clean up - the students were amazed at all the plastics in the river, including straws. Two of the girls who were part of the Enviro Group that went down to the river started the ‘Last Straw’ Campaign and after writing letters and meeting with a variety of people in the College managed to get the canteen to use biodegradable straws with the hope of phasing out straws altogether in the future. They have certainly raised the students awareness of the issue of straws. A copy of the article that appeared in our fortnightly magazine is below.
School Stories: Booragoon Primary School, Western Australia
Booragoon Primary School students measured the number of single-use wraps and packaging in their lunchboxes at the beginning of Term 2. Students then learned about Plastic Free July and alternatives to single-use packaging for their lunches, morning teas and other items, while parents were educated through the school newsletter about the campaign. In Term 3 students re-measured the number of single-use wraps in their lunchboxes. Overall the school decreased its proportion of single-use wrappers by nearly 30%, with some classrooms reaching over 50%! A great achievement by the entire school. The newsletter image below shows the improvement:
School Stories: Scotch College, Western Australia
Students from Scotch College participated in a high school debate night ‘Is Plastic Fantastic?’ funded by the Waste Authority during Plastic Free July. Not to be left out the teachers invited Shani Graham from Ecoburbia to talk to 250 Scotch College staff on the 50 pieces of plastic she could live without and the 5 she couldn’t. Staff were determined decrease their waste, in particular single-use disposable plastic plates (around 150 were used each lunch time!). In partnership with their catering suppliers LAPG they were able to introduce plastic free lunches in July. Bright lime green durable but non-breakable melamine plates were purchased.
Already the benefits are evident. The dollar savings from less packaging means more money for more food. The reduced packaging waste has made the common rooms more inviting and there is an increased convivality around 'breaking bread' together. Teacher Chris writes “this is a simple yet effective example of sustainability in action: working together as a community to improve processes in an environmental, economic and social sense. In a nutshell it is about contributing to make things better than they currently are. We can all play our part, no matter how small, in reducing our carbon footprint and landfill”.
School Stories: Interschool Debate night ‘Is Plastic Fantastic?’, Western Australia
Students from Scotch College and John XXIII College came together to battle it out over the issue of plastics! The event sponsored by the Waste Authority saw year 8 students engage in a war of words over the topic “School canteens should not sell anything wrapped in plastic” and year 11 students wrestling with the topic “Plastic should never have been invented”. In preparing their debate speeches the students thoroughly researched the issues and spoke passionately about their findings. Local sustainability expert, Shani Graham also spoke about her plastic free journey and was the event MC. Shani’s talk was so inspiring and funny that she was invited to speak for the teachers at Scotch College.
School Stories: Presbyterian Ladies College, Western Australia
Senior school students from Perth’s Presbyterian Ladies College participated in an Earth Carers course to have an in depth look at their waste. They started by taking a close look at the contents of the rubbish bins at the canteen and then visited their local waste processing facility. The students hosted a screening of the movie “Bag It” and invited the whole school community. As a result around 20 people signed up for Plastic Free July including students, teachers and the school principle, Ms Beth Blackwood. The students also successfully lobbied to get sales of plastic water bottles banned from the canteen and the school encourages students to bring their own reusable bottles and provides water fountains around the grounds to refill bottles.
School Stories: Applecross Primary School, Western Australia
At Applecross Primary School, Plastic Free July was promoted to the whole school via the newsletter, and the year one class got very involved. Students made pledges and some posters which were put around the school. They also did a lunch box audit and reduced the use of plastic in our lunch boxes by 50% over a week. Students are now aiming for a 100% reduction.