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Bega: Kids get it sorted at school and home

Kids from schools across the Bega Valley Shire are showing that landfill is a load of rubbish thanks to a Council-run waste education program.

Young waste warriors from Eden to Cobargo have been working to reduce school landfill waste through the Let’s Get it Sorted program delivered by the Bournda Environmental Education Centre.

Council’s Waste Strategy Coordinator, Joley Vidau said more than 10 local schools are making big changes to the way they deal with waste.

“The Let’s Get it Sorted program is designed to seed the amazing minds of future waste managers, and so far the results have been very inspiring,” Ms Vidau said.

“Starting last year, our first school visits revealed many schools were struggling to keep recyclable products and food waste out of landfill.

“Thanks to a fantastic program devised and delivered by the Bournda Environmental Education Centre, the follow-up visits revealed huge improvements in school waste management.

“This came from a program that focused on ownership and leadership among the students, who went on to be waste warriors by creating action plans, including the creation of educational videos for other students.

“Schools decorated bins, trained their own bin monitors to help other students in sorting their waste, and raised money through the NSW Return and Earn program.”

Bournda Environmental Education Centre teacher, Julie Donne said it was great to see children delivering the message of responsible waste management to others.

“We went into the schools not sure what we would find in their bins. Through return visits and waste audits we saw recycling and food waste separation increase and the downsizing of waste to landfill,” Ms Donne said.

“This means that between visits it was the kids and teachers keeping things on track, spreading the message of what to do with recyclables and organics, and inspiring others to do the same.

“And now with most children learning away from school, I would not be surprised to hear stories of students improving waste sorting at home too.”

The Let’s Get it Sorted program has just entered its third year with an additional five schools now signed up.

“Funding for this successful program wraps up mid next year, but we are so pleased to know that kids from participating schools are taking the better waste management message from the classroom to their homes,” Ms Vidau said.

“These schools are emerging as leaders in waste management, and we are really grateful for their participation in the program.

“Our intention is to seek support for further funding to enable the continuation of programs and to advance this new generation of waste warriors who lead the way in landfill diversion.”

Let’s Get it Sorted is currently funded through Bega Valley Shire Council’s Waste Fund.

For more information on the Let’s Get it Sorted program, visit the Bournda Environmental Education Centre’s website.

Above: Bemboka Public School Waste Warriors used a Bega Valley Shire Council grant to buy a recycled plastic bench that kept 16,000 plastic bags away from landfill.