Wadalba Community School
About our school
Wadalba is a Kindergarten to Year 12 community school with a large range of classes and subjects on offer. With more than 300 students in our primary section and over 1,300 students in our secondary section, this allows us to offer a broad range of learning programs.
The school is located in the Wyong local government area and works closely as part of the Wadalba Local Management Group. This includes 5 other primary schools, covering established and newer suburbs:
- Woongarrah Primary School
- Kanwal Primary School
- Warnervale Primary School
- Tuggerawong Primary School
- Tacoma Primary School.
We also work closely with our neighbouring high schools and are part of the Central Coast secondary and primary school networks. The school is at the centre of the suburb and is well supported by families and the community.
Our journey to sustainability
Wiping out waste
The origins of EnviroGroup and recycling at our school began as a small group of students who used their school sport time to collect Return and Earn items from the school’s recycling bins. EnviroGroup has now evolved into a dedicated term elective class and has expanded beyond Return and Earn waste collection.
Due to the direction the school was moving in, and the prospect of becoming more sustainable with waste management, the school decided to become involved in the Wiping Out Waste Program, offered by Rumbalara Environmental Education Centre (EEC) and funded by Central Coast Council.
The Wiping out Waste project aimed to tackle the litter and waste around the school, with a particular focus on sorting waste into the correct bins, including:
- Return and Earn
- general waste
- compostable items.
Commencing with a waste audit, the students developed a series of strategies to improve sorting, waste collection and to reduce the overall amount of waste going to landfill.
How we did it
School staff and leaders created a staff environmental group where like-minded teachers met weekly to discuss and implement sustainable practices aimed around 3 key points including:
- management of school grounds
- management of resources.
To ensure the bins were emptied and processed correctly, it was decided that the EnviroGroup would move into a term elective class with 5 periods a fortnight where students would check, empty and clean Return and Earn and organics bins from the 13 bin stations installed around the school. The Return and Earn wheelie bins were emptied into a 660L Envirobank bin that is ideally emptied weekly. The organics were taken to our agricultural farm for composting (after contamination removed).
The waste audit with Rumbalara EEC identified the volume and type of waste generated by the school. After just one recess (!) this is what we counted:
- paper = 0.6kg
- recyclable containers = 1.6kgs
- soft plastic = 1.8kgs
- landfill = 3.8kgs
- return and Earn containers = 5.4 kgs
- organics = 6.2 kgs.
This guided our collection services and waste management practices.
The program has allowed our students to gain both knowledge and practical skills, learn about by-products of organic waste breakdown and recycling processes and maintenance. They have also gained practical knowledge of composting, emptying bins and safe lifting strategies. We had more than 50 students who selected EnviroGroup for a term elective.
Our staff have similarly benefited from developing knowledge and practical skills of waste by-products and management. They are actively engaged in recycling processes and maintenance and have gained practical knowledge of composting, emptying bins and WHS strategies. They have helped educate the whole school to support good waste management processes.
We have created a cleaner school environment and reduced waste going to landfill. Composting has helped reduce methane production from organic waste being diverted from landfill.
By sharing the project with our community via our social media and newsletter and knowing that students are taking this knowledge home, we feel that we have increased local knowledge of sustainable practices.
We have further waste reduction initiatives planned:
- Streamlining organic bin collection by adding screening flaps to bins to prevent organics contamination. We would also like to have a FOGO service to complement our agricultural farm compost system.
- Adding soft plastic recycling bins to the school grounds (already one in the staffroom).
- Adding battery recycling collection for staff.
- Implementation of 7/11 coffee cup recycling.
- eWaste collection.
What our students and teachers say
With the average person producing around 600kg of waste per year, I think educating kids about recycling at a young age is essential for a clean and prosperous Australia.
Teacher - Dylan Magrin.
It's important for the sustainability of the world and to reduce what we are putting into landfill; the plastic doesn't break down for years.
Student involved in the initiative - Baylee Thomson.
We would like to acknowledge our school staff and students involved in the EnviroGroup and Sustainability Team for initiating the Wiping out Waste Program. We could not have done it without the support of Rumbalara EEC and our community partners:
- Suez (Paper and general waste)
- Envirobank (cans and bottles)
- Remondis (FOGO organics)
- Return and Earn (student rewards).