Oonoonba State School in Townsville wanted to implement a composting project with the aim of reducing the amount of food waste the school was sending to landfill. A $1000 Woolworths Junior Landcare Grant provided the funding for their Waste Warriors project.
As the Year 3 Queensland Health Curriculum dedicates a unit to teaching sustainable practices towards a healthy future, Year 3 students were at the helm for this project.
In 2019, they helped build the compost system, using recycled hardwood and iron for constructing the bays. Their involvement included the investigation, implementation and management of the sustainable practice of composting.
Their project is now reducing the amount of food waste the school sends to landfill. There are clearly labelled food scrap buckets in the school’s six eating areas as well as in the tuckshop. Students are encouraged to place their food scraps from their snacks and lunches into the buckets.
From the composting of the food scraps as well as brown leaves, old garden clippings and old shredded newspapers, the school is working towards producing its own nutrient rich soil and mulch, free of chemicals, for use on existing school gardens and vegetable gardens.
All 75 Year 3 children are rostered on compost crews. Each day, a crew is responsible for collecting the scrap buckets from the eating areas and tuckshop and then emptying the buckets into the compost bays. Many of the students report that this is their favourite part of the project.
This composting project is an ongoing vehicle for learning about sustainability with the plan that each year, the Year 3 cohort will learn about composting as a sustainable practice and these students will be responsible for the maintenance of the compost system.
It is more important than ever to teach children how to be environmentally conscious individuals. Composting with students is a simple way to start getting them involved in being sustainable and taking responsibility for their waste,” said Sheryl Firth, the school’s health teacher.
“It’s a simple formula and has so many environmental, health and educational benefits. For the children, it just seems like great fun!”