Middle School Waste Challenge

All the garbage that doesn’t get put in a bin will most likely end up in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It is estimated that 80,000 tons of plastic is floating on the surface of the ocean, spanning over 1.6 million square kilometres, which is almost the size of Queensland. Its impact on marine ecosystems is catastrophic due to its toxic nature and harm to marine life. With this information, a group of 20 Year 9s have come together to start and run a Waste Challenge within the Middle School.

Over four days in Week 10 of Term 2 our team weighed the general waste, recyclables, plastics and compostable material of the Middle School and attributed a score for the environmental impact that each of these categories has. Ultimately, plastics and waste are deemed more damaging to the environment, whereas when recyclable material and compost are disposed of correctly they have less impact.

With a total possible environmental impact score out of 1625 points, we were able to determine the most environmentally conscious year level and award the ‘Greta Award’. Scores were calculated by weight and divided by how many students are in the year level in order to ensure a fair result.

Congratulations to the Year 9s who had the lowest impact score and have won the Greta Award for Term 2. With only 54 points separating the three year levels shows that they are all having a similar impact on the environment. As can be seen, by the three column graphs, the amount of unnecessary waste and plastics that is accumulated within our Middle School is something we want to see change.

Looking to the future, our team of Waste Warriors have a range of initiatives that we want to bring about and are planning small changes so that we can make them sustainable. We are implementing a compost bin in each year level courtyard so that the valuable nutrients can be put back into the soil, rather than disposed of through general waste. A small group of students across the Middle and Senior School are meeting to formalise an environmental policy that will be presented to the College Council later this year. Sometime in Term 3, we aim to do a War on Waste style audit of the rubbish collected throughout a week, sorting and accounting for the school’s waste in the main courtyard of the school to see the school-wide impact. We are also planning an excursion to the Onkaparinga Council to hear about the work they are doing to reduce waste, as well as visiting the Peddler Creek Waste Depot and watch the film 2040.

Mr Christopher McElligott


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