Binning it right earns rewards for Our Lady of the Way School

Our Lady of the Way, Petrie

Our Lady of the Way’s Sustainability Super Hero encourages students to recycle bottles and cans

DISCUSSIONS about Pope Francis’ call to care for creation have spurred students at Our Lady of the Way School, Petrie, to question how they can assist.

The students were learning about Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’, in a whole school approach, emphasising human responsibility for nature.

It prompted discussions by the Year 6 Sustainability Ministry about what the school could do to help protect God’s creation and devise intelligent ways to help the environment.

While discussing the recent implementation of the Queensland Government’s Containers for Change program, one ministry student suggested holding a competition to see who could bring in the most cans.

Library School Officer Samantha Whitton said the competition, which the students named ‘Bin it Right’, was an overwhelming success.

She said students, parents and grandparents were queuing to empty their containers at collection bins each morning.

The school used a bar graph, to track the success for each class.

Sustainability Ministry students worked together to deliver, return and empty the collection bins each day. 

They also introduced the school to ‘Sustainability Super Hero’, who promoted the competition at assemblies and got students excited about the challenge.

Samantha said over a two-week period the competition gathered momentum.

She said students were sharing stories of where they found containers and who helped to collect them.

“Discussions about the importance of these containers being recycled rather than ending up in landfill filled classrooms.

“It ended up being a total school community event with parents and grandparents lending a hand to return the trailer loads of containers to the recycling depot.

The Sustainability Ministry raised $970 or 9,700 containers collected by one school community. 

Student Blake Worth said the Sustainability Ministry’s aim was to help clean up the school, while recycling bottles or cans so they did not end up in the ocean killing fish and other sea creatures. 

Fellow student Thomas McGraw said it was important to reuse things and get rid of single use plastic. 

“There are places that make other things from them so the bottles don't end up in the ocean and landfill,” he said.

Meanwhile Student Lachie Whitton said it was not only sea creatures that were in danger from plastic and cans being thrown away or dumped.

“All creatures, even humans, are at risk from too much plastic in the world, he said.

Samantha said through the competition the students learned that by challenging themselves to better care for the environment in small ways, they were living Pope Francis’ wish for all people.

“It is these small changes we make that can change people’s attitudes towards caring for our planet.

“Small hands can make a big impact.”

She said as the school’s journey with Laudato Si’ continued, they hoped to better improve its recycling program with the money being raised from the ‘Bin it Right’ competition going towards a whole school implementation of colour coded bins to lessen our landfill contribution.

The school was also working with Moreton Bay Regional Council to implement an improved recycling program this year.  

Top stories