The Woods Early Education Centre and Preschool, Ashgrove, QLD
How can we avoid sending waste to landfill?
Inspired by one of our parents’ involvement in a fundraiser with the theme ‘Becoming a waste-free world’, our school readiness children brainstormed ideas for reducing the amount of waste we send to landfill each year. They came up with a range of ideas: “We can give our clothes that don’t fit to the little kids.” “What about giving our scraps to chickens?” “Not buy as many toys.” “Put milk bottles in the recycle bin.” “Give worms the food we don’t eat.” From these ideas, we investigated two areas more thoroughly: Textile and food waste.
Through research on the computer and reaching out to different community members, we discovered that Australians buy an average of 27kg of new textiles each year and discard about 23 kg into landfill, with two-thirds of this synthetic/plastic fibres that may never break down. As a solution to this textile waste, the children organised a clothes swap drawing pictures of the set-up.
To make the most use of food waste, the children set up compost bins and made a chalk board, which we put across the street, offering it to the community. The children also organised a composting roster for the class to take the compost out to the bin. This has become embedded in our everyday practice and children can be seen reminding their friends at mealtimes to put their scraps in the compost bucket rather than the general waste bin. The children are also working with community members to establish a worm farm.
Additional ways of reducing waste
Trying to find even more ways of reducing the waste we send to landfill, we asked the parents to share photos of what they do at home so that we could all learn from them. Through all our conversations the children have also become a lot more aware of what they put into the rubbish bin. When they are about to throw out containers or other waste materials, they often inspect it closely, looking for the recycling symbol and try to figure out together, whether it can go into the recycling bin.
The community connections established have been great and to see the children’s thought processes about becoming a waste-free world and how we can impact that has been delightful to see. The children are now aware and conscious of the impact they are having and the steps they can take to minimise the impact.