Having presented their case for change speeches, the Flame Trees elected to revamp our recycling system. The first step was to measure the current state of our waste disposal habits by conducting a bin audit. We tipped out the entire contents of our red bins and sorted them into landfill, compost and recyclables. We then weighed each group. Today we calculated the weight of the entire bin to work out what fraction each type of rubbish was of the whole. We converted the fractions into percentages and created pie charts to represent our findings. We discovered that the situation is worse than we thought: 51% of what we were throwing to landfill was actually recyclable and 42% was compostable or chook food, That left only 7% of the bin contents that should have been sent to landfill. The remainder are valuable resources that we could be making use of!
We also investigated the office paper that staff were throwing away (just under 50% of our recyclable waste) and sorted it into piles of “rethink- do I really need to print this?”, “Reuse – could this be used for scrap paper?” and “recycle”. We found that roughly one third of our paper could be used again and another third never needed to be printed at all. Our campaign needs to target staff as well as students.
The students practised writing persuasive essays on why we need a better recycling system by writing paragraphs with topic sentences and using the evidence from our audit to back up our arguments. We brainstormed possible solutions to our problems with a SWOT analysis. We realised we need a wider range of bins with more explicit signage but we also need to educate our peers and teachers about what is waste and what is a resource and how to correctly dispose of it. We continue to think up engaging strategies to do this and hope to have a better system up and running for next term.