Waste not for the future
Bags of rubbish including plastic bottles, an old jumper, tin cans and a disposable nappy were all found in Mangawhai Beach School classrooms recently, being used as educational tools.
No, the school’s funding has not been cut that radically, however the items were playing a crucial part in teaching Year 5 to 8 students about the impact of human waste on the environment through the educational programme Love Kaipara – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, on May 22 and 25.
Project manager, Kaipara District Councillor Victoria del la Varis-Woodcock, who helped establish the programme in the region and recently trained educator Margaret Baker, says the best way to prepare for a sustainable future is to educate today’s youth about how to protect the environment.
“Education of children enables us to reach the wider community, as children teach their families,” Woodcock says. “This generation will grow up with knowledge of responsible consumption, recycling and waste avoidance practices, which is something our current adult generation missed out on.”
Love Kaipara is a part of the waste minimisation promotion and education programme, developed with the support of the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund and supported by KDC.
The four 45-minute lessons demonstrate to students how to employ the six golden recycling rules: Refusing, Reducing, Reusing, Repairing, Recycling and Rotting; highlighting not only the importance of how recycling saves resources but also how to avoid creating more waste in the first place.
Focus of the modules is on the importance of getting items washed and ready to be recycled, with special emphasis on the impact of contaminated items; how to shop
wisely to minimise potential waste such as excess wrapping; learning how long particular items take to break down in landfills and the lifecycle of an aluminum can.
Woodcock says that although the students already had a baseline knowledge on the issue of waste through teachings at school, they were enthusiastic about the hands-on involvement and, by researching images of landfill on the internet, they were able to see clearly the need to reduce waste.
“My vision is a Zero-Waste Kaipara, which means getting the whole region passionate about protecting our environment,” she says. “Being a mother, I want to leave a cleaner world and a better future for our children.”
TRASH TALK: Love Kaipara project manager, Victoria del la Varis-Woodcock, encourages students to contemplate the life-cycle of a tin can.