The food waste that ends up in our landfill is a major contributing factor to climate change because it contributes significantly to the production of greenhouse gases, especially methane. The breakdown of waste material in landfill typically occurs in conditions in which there is little or no oxygen, resulting in the proliferation of bacteria that produce methane as a byproduct of the breakdown of organic waste. Methane is approximately 25 times more efficient than carbon dioxide as a means of trapping heat in the atmosphere, so its effects on climate change are also far more profound. Food packaging that cannot be recycled, especially the packaging used to dispense takeaway foods, is also a major contributor to landfill.
Carey’s new waste management system will allow us to address these issues far more effectively than we have been able to do in the past with the introduction of our new green compost bins and the construction of a centralised collection site near the Sackville Street entrance adjacent to Junior School Kew. The new compost bins are gradually being deployed around the school adjacent to our existing recycling and landfill bins, and our maintenance crew have completed demolition of the shed located on the site where the new collection and sorting facility is to be installed.
Carey students have been an important part of this new initiative. Year 12 students Mercy and Lily have been instrumental in negotiating changes to takeaway food packaging in our canteen. Much of the plastic and metal packaging used to dispense takeaway foods has now been replaced with cardboard alternatives that can be placed in compost bins along with leftover food. Members of our Carey Environment Group have also been involved in educating our community about how to use the new system through formal announcements in school assemblies, the production of videos explaining how the system works, and the deployment of signage on our digital screens and bins around the school.
Final construction of the new collection and sorting centre, and systems for the management of the site are expected to be in place by the end of 2023, and we are looking forward to a lot less landfill in 2024.
Leader of Experiential Learning and Sustainability