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Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle www.mn.catholic.org.au
SKIPPING BINS AT ST MARY'S
Year 6 students Bayley Thurston and Katie
Robertson are keen supporters of their
Most parents would be aware of phr ases
like 'nude food day' and 'fruit break ', but
one Catholic school has taken the war on
rubbish a step fur ther. St Mary's Primar y
School at Warner s Bay has gone 'binless'
in an effor t to reduce waste, increase
students' environmental awareness and
In fact the school is estimating a whopping
annual saving of $10,000 thanks to the
new binless campaign. According to one
of the driving forces behind the change,
teacher Sue Por teus, this is just one of the
numerous benefits the school has gained
from its fresh approach to waste disposal.
"When we decided to remove the garbage
bins from the school there was a gener al
buzz around reducing waste with other
schools doing nude food days and similar
things," Ms Por teus said.
"But this actually all star ted when we were
doing building work in the school and the
children couldn't access the skip bin for a
"We asked for help from par ents and got
the children to take their r ubbish home
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"It worked so well and we immediately
r ecognised a reduction in waste and
the impact that had on the budget,
with the school spending about
$1,000 per month to empty the skip
Ms Por teus and principal Linden
Jones-Dr zyzga saw an oppor tunity to
improve the school's environmental
sustainability and to save money.
After much research and discussions
with staff, parents and students,
the school went binless in ter m 4,
2013. The playground now has eight
recycling bins , four compost bins
and no garbage bins. Students ar e
encour aged to bring food in reusable
containers and any food wr apper s
must be taken home for disposal. The
school even has separ ate eating and
play area s to make waste monitoring
ea sier. And so far the change has
been a positive one with all the
money saved going towards school
resources for the new cur riculum.
"The school community has really
embraced the concept; in my opinion
it has been a huge success," Ms Jones-
"The children are now environmentally
aware of how much waste actually
goes into landfill and what they can
do to reduce it."
Financial savings, greater
environmental awareness and
a cleaner playground are the
obvious benefits of the change
but Ms Por teus said parents also
"Parents now know what their
children ar e eating and what they
aren't eating because they have to
take their wr apper s home, even if it
is a lunch order from the canteen,"
It wa s also calculated that bin duty,
where students empty the garbage
bins, was taking children out of class
for a total of eight hours per ter m,
which is no longer the case.
What do students think?
"It is a lot better! " Year 6 student
Bayley Thur ston, 11, said.
"Before, the bins were overflowing
and there were crows and some (not
the crows) were even tipping over.
"Now we take our r ubbish home and
we remind the younger kids not to
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