Kingsford Smith School: Enviro Champion Winner

Kingsford Smith School has won The Canberra Times ACT CDS Enviro Champions – Schools Award, in recognition of their students’ recycling efforts.

“The students were really excited to hear they had won, especially when they found out that the $500 prize money will support them in getting to Adelaide for the national Kids In Space competition,” said teacher Timothy Kirsopp.

The school started collecting eligible bottles and cans on site since early 2021 to redeem though the ACT Container Deposit Scheme (CDS), with the refunds from the containers supporting extracurricular activities for the students.

The monies raised so far have helped fund two lion dancing costumes for the school’s Chinese lion dancing troupe, purchased a weather station, and contributed to the bus hire for teams competing in Stirling at the ACT division of the Kids in Space competition.

Kids in Space is a technology-based, space-themed design competition aimed at building skills and interest in STEM. The school’s Year 6 team won the ACT division, securing their place at the nationals in October in Adelaide.

The prize money, together with funds raised through the school’s container recycling and other community donations, will cover all the costs for the team headed to Adelaide.

“This means that every student on the team will be able to attend, regardless of their family’s financial situation,” said Tim.

The school’s recycling initiative is also used in classroom learning. Tim created a website with graphs showing the number and types of containers that are returned, along with a tally of the money earned.

“Students use the website during maths and science lessons for data collection and analysis,” he said.

It began when students did the math on how many eligible containers were binned at Kingsford Smith. They realised they were throwing out nearly $10,000 every year. 

“We have 900 students, so if half the kids use one container per day that adds up,” he said. 

Winning the competition has inspired the Year 6 students to continue recycling.

The ACT CDS is a partnership between the ACT Government, scheme coordinator Exchange for Change and network operator Return-It.