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Leading the way in plastic waste reduction

Regulus // Issue 2 // August 2023

More news for Sustainability

Year 6 students during their visit to the A Waste of Time programme.An inquiry called The Plastic Problem – Sustainability, which investigated the detrimental effects of plastic waste on the environment, sparked several passion projects for Year 6 students, and led to them running an Eco Day for the entire Preparatory School.

During Term 1, the students delved into large amounts of research before coming up with their own project ideas, says Year 6 teacher, Lori Haisty. “The students could do anything they wanted, as long as it helped to spread awareness about the impacts of plastic pollution in our world and community. Some students created posters and PowerPoint presentations, which they shared with the Year 4–5 classes and Junior Department. Others made songs and videos, and there were even small groups who made beeswax wraps, which takes the place of single use plastic in lunchboxes.”

The beeswax wraps were sold by the students, with profits going to Our Seas, Our Future, a Dunedin-based charity and marine conservation organisation.

In Term 2, the Year 6 children ran an Eco Day, with all students in the Preparatory School able to wear mufti as long as they had a single use plastic-free lunchbox that day. Funds raised were also directed to Our Seas, Our Future.
The two Year 6 classes later took part in Christchurch City Council’s A Waste of Time programme, which educates students about the reduce, reuse, and recycle aspects of waste management. They visited Eco Sort on Parkhouse Road to see how the huge amount of recycling which arrives there is sorted, the types of materials it can be turned into, and the things you can and can’t put into a recycling bin. At the Eco Shop on Blenheim Road, the students saw how various household items can be repurposed and took part in the fun task of picturing themselves when they are older, setting up their first flat, and having an imaginary $500 to spend in the shop.

Lori says the Year 6 classes learnt a lot from the inquiry and the benefits are ongoing. “One of our beeswax groups is keen to help reduce the amount of rubbish going into the bins in the Quad at lunchtime, by using some of their profits to buy a compost bin for students’ food scraps. The scraps would then be turned into compost for the Preparatory School garden.”

The inquiry has helped other students in the Preparatory School to understand that their small actions do have an impact in helping to create a greener, more sustainable future. Lori says the students are encouraging everyone to be more accountable, including herself. “I’ve started using beeswax wraps for my lunch, and after being reminded by my students, use a re-usable cup instead of takeaway cups for my coffee.”

Our Year 6 students turn plastic inquiry into Eco Day, fostering sustainability awareness and fundraising for marine conservation.