"When we first started everything, other than shredded paper, was going to landfill. We knew that was a terrible example to set. And once we started to make changes we knew we had to keep going."
Elizabeth Ford, Principal
What was their motivation?
Hillcrest Primary School understood there was a need for robust waste management practices and both classroom and playground based learning opportunities if they were going to really embed a focus on sustainability and set a positive example for their students.
As one of WA’s 450+ Waste Wise Schools they had a framework for change to work from and support to make it happen.
But, with the basics in place, the wider school community (everyone from teaching staff through to the gardeners, canteen staff, students and parents) could still see further opportunities to make a difference and they wanted to see just how far they could take it by working together.
Did you know?
Hillcrest Primary School was named as WA’s top Waste Wise School of the year in 2018
What are they doing?
Securing a Waste Wise School Grant of $2,176 to help with composting and food gardens as well as set up new recycling boxes for textas and markers was just the start. They’ve also focused on:
- Reducing - Hillcrest's canteen now only uses paper straws, reusable cutlery and cups .
- Composting - Hillcrest Primary School canteen composts at least 5kg of organic food waste daily now!
- Seeing - an excursion for all students to the local landfill site gave kids and teachers alike a good understanding of the recycling process, and why it’s so important to make sure why their recycling bins should be free from contamination!
- Recycling - the school’s list of recycled waste has grown from shredded paper to include batteries, soft plastics, newspapers and even a new project to recycle stationery!
- Assigning responsibility - Year 6 Students have responsibility for waste management, including bin collection, lunchtime garden club and litter collection.
- Growing - better than BYO, the school has transformed an old basketball court into a food growing outdoor classroom space, where students are able to grow their own package-free produce.
Hillcrest Primary School students learn about sustainable gardening.
What impact is Hillcrest making?
5kg of food scraps are composted daily – this isn’t just saving the planet, combined with better recycling practices, the school has cancelled two large skip bins, so it’s saving them about $2,000 a year too!
80kg of batteries were collected for recycling in one year.
Students collected and recycled 2,735 pieces of plastic litter in one term.
What does the future hold for Hillcrest?
Expectations about what is possible have grown among the school community. Hillcrest is now looking to tackle bottled water, establish a pencil library and introduce waste-free lunches.
The school is also working in partnership with the City of Bayswater and local not-for-profit organisation Environment House to run free compost workshops for the school community.
How can YOU get on board?
Many people don’t know where to start, how to compost or what to recycle.
- Check with your kids’ school – are they a Waste Wise School? What programs do they have in place and how do your children feel about waste?
- See our guide to cutting waste at school for some handy tips.
- Enlist your kids in the challenge to reduce waste. Consider taking them with you next time to visit the tip. Show them the impacts of landfill and the importance of recycling.
- Start a project at home with your children – a compost bin or recycling challenge.