Sorting through a tonne of garbage to assess the best ways to reduce waste is not a job for the faint hearted.
Year 9 Science and Environment students at Erina High School are taking it on, as part of the school’s commitment to reduce waste while preparing their school community for the NSW Government’s upcoming single-use plastics bans.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast Adam Crouch said with support from a specialist educator from Rumbalara NSW Environmental and Zoo Education Centres (EZEC), students and staff will conduct a waste audit, categorising the good, the bad and the ugly, to understand their waste footprint.
“Erina High students exemplify how the next generation is prepared to get in and act practically to respond to future environmental challenges, helping their school community plan for the single use plastic bans in November, while designing new ways to reduce waste,” said Mr Crouch said.
“The waste audit is an important piece of research, and it will be revealing to see how much single-use plastics make up in the school’s waste stream.”
The results of their audit will go on to inform the design of new waste systems and underpin changes the school community and canteen will make to comply with 1 November NSW Government bans on plastic straws, bowls, cups, and utensils among other single-use plastic items.
Single-use plastic items and packaging have made up 60 per cent of all litter in NSW, clogging waterways and harming land and marine ecosystems.
It’s estimated the single-use plastic bans, including an earlier ban on lightweight plastic bags, will prevent 2.7 billion items from polluting the NSW environment over the next 20 years.
“Schools are the perfect places to educate whole communities about reducing and avoiding single-use plastics,” Rumbalara NSW Environmental and Zoo Education Centres (EZEC) Lisa Wriley said.
“We need everybody to get on board to find solutions to plastic pollution, including parents, local businesses and organisations.”
EZEC is partnering with the NSW EPA to deliver grassroots community-led actions to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics and change our habits.
Another 20 schools will be supported through the ‘Waste and Plastics Reduction’ pilot program just like Erin High School, with other EZECs across NSW.
For more information about the NSW plastics ban, visit http://www.dpie.nsw.gov.au/plastics-ban.