Ms Angell has been leading a crusade against waste at MRPS. She appears regularly at assemblies to promote key recycling projects and she’s just upped the ante with the Plastic Free July challenge, which still has a week to go.
Our school canteen has joined her in this challenge by making these changes:
- paper straws instead of plastic straws
- no single use plastic (including icey poles) for July, instead offering ice-cream cups with a wooden spoon (proving very popular)
- bamboo cutlery instead of plastic
- hot drinks in paper cups and the choice of no lid for staff, or use of own mugs
Of course our canteen produces most of its delicious food on site, so prepackaging is not a huge problem but in the spirit of the challenge they have taken on the extra work involved and have funded the cost of these changes Next month they will keep the paper straws and bamboo cutlery as permanent fixtures, but it will cost you 10c if you choose to buy a paper straw and the 10c cost of the cutlery will be included in the price of a Macaroni Cheese, Pasta or Fried Rice meal.
Students have shown their support for a cleaner plastic-free planet by embracing the changes and going without their popular icey poles for July.Canteen Manager, Desiree Gibson shared an anecdote, saying
Students have been very involved in this challenge and one student even requested ‘No straw please!” on her canteen lunch order. Teachers have been helping by bringing their own mugs for soup and if we use a paper cup, they have the option of no lid. We also recycle as much as possible: boxes are recycled (students often collect them for projects) nd we recycle the plastic milk bottles too. All of us at the canteen are right behind Plastic Free July and most of the changes will last. (Canteen staff being Desiree Gibson, Mara Cintra, Judy Durlik and Sarah Goodwin).
Students have made sure that they have voiced their feelings too. Year 3 (T4) students, Lucy M, Joey B, Savannah D, Ophelia S. and Ruby A. wrote a persuasive argument supporting Plastic Free July, which they presented to the Canteen and Year 4 (T14) student, Ruby A, presented her own letter to the canteen too.
Ms Angell summarised the four main areas being targeted in our “war on waste” with Plastic Free July as being:
- no single use plastic bags
- no water bought in plastic bottles
- no plastic straws
- no lids on take-away cups for staff (and encouraging use of own cups)
Some of the initiatives on offer to achieve this are run by Terracycle who offer to collect, ship and recycle:
- all used oral health care products and packaging, and
- used beauty products waste packaging including: cosmetics packaging, hair care packaging and skin care packaging.
This picture gives you some idea of what you can send in. Just bring your empty packaging to Ms Angell and she will collect it and send it on to Terracycle for recycling.
Reflecting on these recycling initiatives, Ms Angell said:
It’s amazing the amount of oral are products I have sent off. This year we sent off about 7 kilograms of packaging (just under a cubic metre in volume).
I have noticed a lot of kids getting on board with it. Recently I offered a student a container for her things and her response was, “Yes, as long as it’s not plastic.”
I’d like to say a huge thanks to the Canteen for being willing to make these changes, which has been a significant contribution for a not-for profit organisation.
In other areas around the school Jenny Robb has been promoting the Nude Food Trackers where classes have been encouraged to keep a record of nude food boxes which is lunchboxes with no packaging and Andrew Murray has a Redcycle bin outside his classroom (T7), to collect soft plastic which at present is deposited into a special collection bin at Coles for recycling into useful new products. All these projects are echoed in the recycling and sustainability practices of our Kitchen Garden Program.
So, the movement at MRPS is gaining momentum, with widespread ground roots support from students, parents and staff.
Are you doing your bit to help the planet? As you can see, there are so many ways you can help make a difference. By supporting the war on waste initiatives on offer at school already, like the Canteen, you will be helping.
Plastic Free July has created a huge awareness in our greater school community and we hope that this will continue and that we can transfer these habits into everyday practices at home.
Written, photos and posted by D. Veary