The Moerlina School outside of Perth, Australia conducted a waste audit and found that they had a problem – there was a lot of misinformation about what types of rubbish can and cannot be recycled.

They found that recycling bins were being contaminated with unrecyclable rubbish, or the recyclable items were getting disposed of in the incorrect bins. So, the students undertook an awareness-raising campaign to make sure that all the bins were properly labelled and that everyone in the school knew what kind of waste can be recycled. This also required buy-in from teachers, parents and the cleaning staff, which helped build the students’ opinion leadership skills as well!

The students also introduced an industrial-sized compost system to reduce and reuse food scraps and other biodegradable waste, which they will continue to promote and maintain. They engaged in various environmental education activities about the properties of recyclable matter and how problematic soft plastics can be upcycled to make useful items. An informational newsletter about waste and sustainability issues was also shared with parents to help spread the message of environmental responsibility throughout the community!

“The project has encouraged children, adults and the school community such as parents, and grandparents to consider their waste and output. Parents have gone out to buy worm farms and other composting systems so they can replicate what we are doing at school in their homes. It is wonderful to see how lots of small changes can have a ripple effect to impact others to make changes.” – Dell Doherty, Moerlina School

The Alcoa W5 project activities at Moerlina School support the following SDGs: