In order to reduce its ecological footprint Comet Bay Primary School is working towards its accreditation of becoming a Waste wise school.  The Wastewise Program would help complete the school’s drive towards becoming an Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSi) sustainable school, complimenting already accredited programs within the school such as the Waterwise Program and The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Project.

Comet Bay Primary School is a large school with over 850 students and 40 staff and it requires a large amount of resources in order for the school to run safely and efficiently (from paperclips to photocopiers to water use).  This in turn generates a large amount of waste products (i.e. food packaging, paper) resulting in economic, social and environmental stresses.

There are 10 steps towards becoming a Wastewise School and Comet Bay Primary School is currently at Step 3.

Steps are as follows:

STEP 1: Introductory Workshop (8th September 2010).

STEP 2: Whole school Waste Audit (Week 1, Term 3). Rubbish from classrooms and from the school green bins were emptied and sorted into 3 categories for assessment: Biodegradable Waste (food scraps, paper and fruit); Recyclable waste (tins, cartons, hard plastic, cardboard); Non-Recyclable Waste (plastic wraps, wrappers, packets).  Link to pictures. The sorted heaps of waste were then weighed to assess what waste was prevalent within the school. The results from the waste audit were translated into colour coded graphs to enable easy dissemination of information in a visual format.  Wastewise results graph.doc. The graphs highlighted that the majority of Comet Bay Primary Schools waste was food scraps and vegetable matter; followed by cartons (juice mainly) and plastic wrappings (crisp packets and gladwrap).

The graphs were distributed back to each classroom to be shared and reflected upon and the students then brainstormed some ideas on how we could move forward towards reducing our waste. Link to wastebin brainstorm.

STEP 3: We are currently at step 3, forming a committee of teachers and students at the school.