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Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative - ACT

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  | Waste and Recycling Management  | Resources | Bin Stickers | Options for Organic Waste

Useful websites  

Waste and Recycling Management in Schools

Three girls with binsThe waste component of the AuSSI focuses on the minimisation of waste to landfill through recycling of paper, rigid plastics, steel, aluminium and glass products, the composting of organic material and smart purchasing. 

The goal of the waste component is to change the culture and attitudes of the school community from viewing what we would traditionally throw away as ‘waste’ to recognising these materials as ‘resources.’

Did you know that up to 85% of the waste a school produces can be recycled or reused? AuSSI ACT engaged a contractor to conduct week-long comprehensive waste audits in seven primary and secondary schools in the ACT. It was found that the vast majority (85%) of waste generated in a school can potentially be recycled or reused. Posters showing the percentage of different waste types in a typical ACT school can be found here:


Waste Resources

Waste Best Practice Guide

Feeding wormsWhen addressing waste, schools receive a Waste and Recycling Best Practice Guide.  This guide provides step-by-step instructions and recommendations to help schools reduce, reuse and recycle their waste and develop a Waste and Recycling Action Plan.

In addition to the Waste and Recycling Best Practice Guide, AuSSI ACT offers:

  • advice on individual school’s current waste system and suggested improvements (including number and size of bins/hoppers, locations and strategies for getting the whole school involved)
  • free stickers to label bins (see below)
  • workshops on the sustainable management of waste and recycling
  • assistance to develop a sustainable procurement policy
  • newsletters and publications, including the recent newsletter with a focus on sustainable procurement in schools and an information flyer promoting National Recycling Week.

Waste Curriculum

AuSSI ACT has Waste Curriculum Units (P-Y10) to support ‘Every Chance to Learn’, the ACT Curriculum Framework. The units address the Essential Learning Achievements and provide a diverse range of activities and assessment tasks relevant to the ACT. The units complement the Australian Curriculum Sustainability Priority.

ACT Waste Resources and Services 

Schools can also take advantage of other resources and services available in the ACT including tours of the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) at Hume and the ACTSmart Public Event Recycling Program:

  • schools can visit the MRF at Hume to see where their recycling and waste goes after it is collected. NOWaste Education Officers are also available to visit your school to educate students on effective recycling
  • the ACTSmart Public Event Recycling Program is a free program that helps event organisers implement recycling facilities at a public event such as a school fete, festival or sporting event.  Water units are also available through this program, to allow your event patrons refill their water bottles with free tap water.


Bin Stickers

To help your school label bins, the following bin stickers are available from AuSSI ACT:

Fill in the order form and return it to AuSSI ACT and the stickers will be sent to your school.


Options for Organic Waste

A chook run in a schoolRecent waste audits in schools have shown that up to 48% of waste generated in schools is organic.  Several options are available for your school to manage your organic/compostable waste. These options include composting, worm farming, chickens, separate collections from an organic waste contractor or a combination of these options.  

Having chickens in your school is one way to manage your organic waste. There are many benefits for having chickens in your school including:

  1. it's a great opportunity to give your students responsibility to care for animals
  2. chickens will eat most of your organic food scraps, for example bread crusts, fruit and vegetables
  3. chickens will reward you with fresh free range eggs to either sell or use in your canteen.

For more information on keeping chickens or for other options for managing organic waste, contact a Sustainable Schools Officer.


Useful Websites

Keep Australia Beautiful - helping to reduce litter and promote sustainable communities

National Recycling Week - lesson plans, activity suggestions and information on recycling

Nude Food Day - information on how to host a 'nude food' day

Cool Australia - fact sheets, research and news articles on waste and recycling  

ACT Government Territory and Municipal Services - information on what can be recycled in the ACT  




ACT Government Entry Point ACTSmart for your school Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative page

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Updated on: 13 January 2014