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Onehunga Primary School tackles waste minimisation

Published: 25 July 2019

Onehunga Primary School jumped at the chance to receive guidance and funding for a waste minimisation project.  Waste Busters kicked off with students running a full waste audit, sorting and weighing a day’s waste in order to understand the school’s current needs and management practices.

They quickly realised that too much paper and compost was going straight to landfill and that the main reason for this was that classrooms didn’t have separated recycling and compost bins.

With the funding they received, Onehunga Primary School equipped each classroom with a set of three bins, labelled; landfill, non-paper recycling and compostable.

In another example of eco-thinking, they then repurposed the old bins for paper recycling. The school team running the Waste Busters project took special care to properly inform other students and teachers on how to use the new bin system through a newsletter, a special school assembly and an info pack which was provided to each classroom.  

“This is a big step forward for our school and for the environment,” says Jackie Arthur Environment Leader at Onehunga Primary School. 

“The entire school is involved; each classroom takes turns to check and empty the bins each day. We have found that this involvement has helped keep everyone engaged. All 21 classrooms plus the administration rooms at the school are taking part.

"Where previously 75 per cent of food scraps and 40 per cent of paper was going to landfill, all food waste is now diverted to Hungry Bin worm farms and all paper goes in the correct recycling bin.”

“Onehunga Primary School has done a great job with their Waste Busters project, says Myrthe Braam of EcoMatters Environment Trust, which is coordinating the Love Your Neighbourhood funding programme. 

“There are plenty of other sustainability ideas that individuals, groups or schools can apply for help with, for example, many schools and early learning centres are applying to set up vegetable garden projects, rain harvesting systems and fruit tree planting projects.”

As part of the EcoMatters Environment Trust, Love Your Neighbourhood initiative, local schools are encouraged to become more environmentally sustainable and informed, through support and funding assistance. Maungakiekie Tāmaki Local Board helps fund the Love Your Neighbourhood project, through local board grant allocation, because the projects clearly align with their objective to help Maungakiekie Tāmaki be a community that cares about its environment.

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