Toy koala helps Harrison Public School students recycle

William the Waste-free Warrior is encouraging kids at Harrison Public School to recycle using the ACT Container Deposit Scheme (CDS). The toy koala is awarded to the group of students producing the least amount of rubbish from their lunch packaging.

“Waste-free Wednesday is mostly about getting kids to think about what’s in their lunchbox,” said Year 1-2 teacher Shane Newman.

“I’ve made it a competition between classes and groups to make it bit more fun,” he said.

Harrison Public School has a range of sustainability initiatives and one of the most popular is recycling through the ACT CDS. Shane and Year 3-4 teacher Sam MacKenzie lead the container collections.

“It started three years ago in just one class and the 10c container refunds went towards an excursion to the movies. Then the recycling spread to other classes and the funds went towards buying computers,” Shane said.

It wasn’t long before the whole primary school was saving their bottles and cans to recycle. A sustainability team was soon formed and the school approached Bunnings for dedicated container recycling bins.

Sam links the scheme to classroom learning. Her students completed a waste audit at the school to determine how much landfill was created. Afterwards, they did a project to explore how they could improve sustainability at the school.

“The students were really shocked by the amount of rubbish that was generated. Kids talked about the recycling they did at home and how we could use the same ideas at the school. They also realised that there were no bins for eligible containers in the playground, so we’re trying to change that,” Sam said.

The school has raised around $500 through container refunds and there has been lots of suggestions from the students about how to use the money raised.

“The money might go toward a worm farm and bins for the playground. It would be nice to tie it into waste reduction,” said Shane.

Interested in fundraising through the ACT CDS like Harrison Primary School? Find out more on our Get your school involved page.

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