Oxley Park Public School are litter legends
Over the last three years, Oxley Park Public school have collected and recycled over 100kg of plastic waste.
In 2019, Oxley Park PS made a commitment to become ‘Litter Legends’ as part of their involvement in the Eco Schools Australia program. The Return and Earn program is a core part of their efforts to reduce plastic waste at school.
Their plans to reduce plastic waste started with student led research to find out about the types and amount of waste they were making at school. Students in stage 2 regularly conduct waste audits – collecting, measuring and recording their plastic waste data. Integrated into the Maths, English and Science curriculum, students also learn about plastic waste problems and solutions, watching videos about plastic waste in landfill and creating posters around school to promote sustainable practises.
When they started their school Return and Earn program, staff members would take eligible containers back to a local depot at St Marys and Colyton. The school now works with Red Frog Recycling, who provide two large bins, collect the bins twice a month, and deposit the money from recycled containers into the school bank account (less their service fee).
The school has trialled a number of different options to collect eligible containers at school. Initially starting with recycled or repurposed buckets, they are currently using soft tubs that are light and easy to carry. Two students collect tubs from each class and bring them to the two large orange bins in the collection area. Students measure the waste (twice a month), record their data in the Eco Schools audit form, then waste is collected by Red Frog Recycling.
Funds raised through the Return and Earn program are invested back into the school farm, garden and Environment Team projects.
Sustainability is a core part of the school culture and is supported by a dedicated group of nearly 20 staff involved as part of their Environment Team. The school expectations are “Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be a Learner, Be Green and Be Deadly”. Students are encouraged to be responsible global citizens, by having sustainable practices embedded into the school Positive Behaviour for Learning matrix.
Over the last five years the school has built a comprehensive sustainability program, running multiple projects across all stages. They have a farm with ducks, chickens and a rabbit, 65 vegetable garden beds and a garden club open three days a week. Food waste is composted or fed to worms, creating fertiliser for the plants. Food waste, nutrition and healthy eating are tackled through their kitchen garden and taking part in the OzHarvest FEAST program. Habitat and biodiversity conservation is promoted through tree planting with Cooling the Schools, Greening Australia, and a Landcare for Habitat garden. You can read more about their sustainability initiatives here. In 2021 the school community were very excited and proud to be the first school in NSW to be awarded a Green Flag from the Eco Schools program.
School Learning and Support Teacher Jayne Alba sees many benefits from their sustainability programs, “Students are learning how to care for the environment and are caring for their community and school by reducing waste”.
Find out how your school can raise funds and recycle through Return and Earn