Term 2 Newsletter 2021

Be inspired this term with stories from schools and fun activities

WasteSorted Schools logo

To all our dedicated teachers and school staff

Welcome back to term two. In this exciting term, many schools start their waste projects to help make their schools and communities cleaner and more sustainable. We hope to inspire you this term with resources for behaviour change and success stories from schools on their waste journey. We have free resources to give away and fun composting activities to try in the classroom!  

We would also like to welcome Cindy Fryer from Keep Australia Beautiful to the Waste Wise Schools team. Cindy has a lot of experience completing her own waste projects. In her spare time, she runs a TerraCycle collection point for her children’s school and volunteers at Repair Labs around Perth, teaching children and adults how to fix jewellery.

Using behaviour change tools in schools

We all desire the same thing in schools: to have happy, clean and safe environments, with less waste and more learning. Successful schools use behaviour change methods to encourage students and staff to adopt desired behaviours. Current research shows that change is more likely to occur when we focus on solutions and provide options. At our WasteSorted workshop, Cara Williams presented about behaviour change for waste management in schools. Upskill your behaviour change skills by attending our upcoming WasteSorted workshop or contact us for a copy of Cara’s presentation!

Classroom activities for Compost Week

Landfill is the last resort for organic waste. Great Schools use Earthcycling to build healthier soils and reduce carbon emissions. Will you join in Compost Week by choosing to run some fun composting activities in your classroom? Waste Wise Schools has activities for primary and secondary school classes!

Primary school: Try lessons from the Waste Wise Schools compost curriculum guide.

Secondary school: Use the following activities with information from the Waste Wise Schools compost fact sheet.

1. As a class, research the need for a school compost system, based on the amount of food waste generated by students and the most appropriate type of system to tackle the food waste in your school.

Ask students to conduct an analysis of the school grounds to discover the most appropriate site for a new compost system(considering shade, access to water, proximity to gardens/classrooms, access, etc).

Design and build the new school compost system with students.

Year 7-10 Design and Technology (ACTDEP035, ACTDEP048)


2. Debate the statement “All households in Western Australia should have a mandatory compost bin.”

Students will need to research the pros and cons of composting with regard to food consumption, food waste, current methods of handling waste (including landfill), environmental costs and the personal pros and cons of composting.

Year 9 HASS Geography (ACHGK064)


3. Research composting using the fact sheet to plan, draft and publish an informative and persuasive text to encourage students in your school community to start composting at home.

This should include what compost is and why people do it, the three types of compost, the main ingredients of compost, troubleshooting tips, and definitions of key words, such as the contrasting two main ingredients (‘carbon-rich’ and ‘nitrogen-rich’ materials), ‘organic matter’, ‘decomposition’, ‘aeration’, and ‘anaerobic’.

Year 7 English (ACELY1725)


4. Visit the school compost bin with students to show them the decomposition of materials. Take samples of the compost back to the classroom and use magnifying lenses to look through the samples for organisms, such as earthworms, slugs, slaters, millipedes, centipedes, vinegar flies, beetles and the occasional spider.

Ask students to identify the organisms they find and share the results with the class. Research the type of feeding relationship each organism has (many will be eating the decomposing waste) and ask students to create a food web.

Year 8 Science Biology (ACSSU111, ACSSU112)

Free resources

Be a GREAT sort by Earthcycling at your school! Many schools collect food scraps from recess and lunch, and you can too thanks to our food scrap stickers giveaway. You can easily adapt them to your school’s Earthcycling system, be it worms, compost, bokashi or chickens, by crossing out the food items you don’t collect.


Email rosie.bruce@dwer.wa.gov.au with the subject line “food scrap stickers” to order yours today. Only while stocks last!

School Learning Journeys

So many schools across WA are doing amazing things in their classrooms and with their communities! Curious to know what others have done? Read the inspirational stories below from our TeachMeet presenters.

North Morley Primary School:

This school’s waste program was set up and driven solely by P&C volunteers! After a waste audit in 2019 showed large amounts of food waste, the volunteers started an initiative to compost scraps from each classroom. Other sustainable drives were started, including waste-free lunches on Wednesdays, soft plastics collections, and setting up a Recycle and Reuse hub.

Bannister Creek Primary School

Bannister Creek is a sustainable school and is highly involved in multiple enrichment programs to help their school community. They have a thriving student gardening club where they harvest seeds, look after the plants, eat the produce and cook with it in classes. Even the teachers benefit from the garden and get to eat delicious homecooked dishes made from the fresh veggies from the school garden. Years 3-5 are EcoWarriors and supervise activities such as collecting food waste to feed it to the chickens, add it to compost heaps and to worm farms. The school also collect soft plastics and started a zero-waste Thursday for lunches after their waste audit results showed high amounts of packaging.

Mel Maria Catholic Primary School

The school identified high levels of food waste in their first waste audit and this is now being collected for composting and for their fridge worm farms. Each classroom has paper, soft plastic and compost bins, and teachers are asked to integrate “teachable moments” for waste education into classroom life. The library is a driver of the program with waste displays and a community recycling centre for batteries, cartridges, paper, bottle tops, stationary and soft plastics, and library lessons also focus on waste awareness. In 2021, they plan to continue with a focus on paper, following increased amounts of this type of waste in the most recent audit.

John Curtin College of the Arts

John Curtin took part in an electronic composter trial run by Waste Wise Schools in 2016. They fondly named their machine “Audrey” after the giant monster plant from their 2016 musical “Little Shop of Horrors” to encourage the whole school to get involved. Audrey is helping the school tackle their food waste and produce a beneficial soil improver. Food waste is collected from student eating areas, as well as from leftovers from Food Technology. In 2019, approximately 1969.95 kg of organic waste was diverted from landfill using the electric composter!

High School student engagement

Waste Wise Schools are currently working on a toolkit for high schools to engage students in waste avoidance and recovery. The focus will be on changing the behaviour of students to reduce and sort their waste, using the correct bins and avoiding contamination.

We invite Waste Wise high schools to complete this short survey by 14 May for your chance to win a reusable sandwich wrap.

Your time, insight, ideas, and inspiration are much appreciated!

Upcoming Workshops

Regional TeachMeet: Waste Wise and sustainability in regional primary and secondary schools

Wednesday 28th April, 4-6pm, Online webinar

Hear from primary and secondary regional Waste Wise schools about successful waste management practices they have implemented at their school. They will share ideas and experiences about how they have created a successful program including set up, maintenance, and engaging students.

Presenters:  Helena Nicholson, Dunsborough Primary School, Geoff Holt, Busselton Senior High School and other - TBA

Register here.  

Compost and gardening workshop

Wednesday 5 May, 9.30am-3pm, Henderson Environmental Centre, North Beach

Keen to reinvigorate your food garden after a long hot summer? Join Robyn Brown from Waste is My Resource and Patrick Hamill from Waste Wise Schools for a day of garden talk. Discussions will include, composting, worm farming and growing food at school.

This workshop is free and lunch and morning tea will be provided. A payment for teacher relief is available for two staff from each school to facilitate attendance. Details will be provided on registration.

Register: here  

WasteSorted workshop

Thursday 6 May, 9.30-3pm, Naragebup – Rockingham Regional Environmental Centre

Join the team from Waste Wise Schools for a hands-on look at sorting your school waste. The workshop will include:

  • the new WWS 10 steps to getting your WasteSorted
  • new tools for assessing your school waste
  • setting up your waste sorting stations at school
  • Containers for Change and how to do it at your school
  • how to engage students
  • behaviour change in schools

Register: here 

Plastics and Packaging Q&A

Tuesday 15 June, 3:30-4pm, Online event

Join Waste Wise Schools to learn about plastics and packaging.

Are you trying to be green but getting confused by different label terminology? Do you want to know the most environmental option between biodegradable, degradable, or compostable? Let our expert Jo O'Connor explain the difference and help get your school ready for Plastic Free Term 3!

Presenter: Jo O'Connor, Senior Environmental Officer, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation

Format: 10-minute online presentation followed by Q&A session with attendees

Registration: here 

Plastic Free Term Three workshop

Tuesday 22nd June, 9:30- 3:30pm, Piney Lakes Environmental Education Centre

Join the team from Waste Wise Schools to prepare your classroom to go Plastic Free Term Three!

The workshop will include:

  • How to reduce plastic in your classroom and school
  • Tools and activities to engage students
  • Resources available from Waste Wise Schools
  • Behaviour change in schools
  • How to get involved in the Plastic Free Term 3 competition

The workshop is suitable for school staff including teachers, principals, administration staff and parents. It is FREE and teacher relief payments are available for two staff from each school.

Registration: here  

Grant Rounts

Get ahead and start planning for the next grant round now! When the new Minister announces the opening date, we will put it on our website and Facebook page. In the meantime, make a start on your application and contact Patrick Hamill from the Waste Wise team with any questions regarding the application or the planning of your project. Pat can assist you over the phone, via email or visit your school if a site inspection is required.


Phone:6364 6644


Waste audits:

Schools are already booking waste audits for Term 2 and Term 3. Available across Perth metro areas and the Kalgoorlie-Boulder area.

WasteSorted Race:

Schools are loving the WasteSorted Race excursion to help students learn the importance of sorting their waste! Tailored to your school’s waste system, this 30-minute incursion will cover:

  • why sorting waste is important
  • the different colour bins waste is sorted into at home and school
  • a practical application of waste sorting with a fun interactive race.

Many schools book our metro incursion officers for 2-3 hours to run multiple classes through this engaging activity!

Visual Bin Audits and School Waste Assessments:

Schools are saving money by improving their waste systems. Our Visual Bin Audit and School Waste Assessment tools help schools to assess their waste services by identifying the type and number of bins available and where services can be adjusted. Schools find it helpful to book an incursion officer to help use these new tools for the first time.

An incursion officer is available in Perth metro and Kalgoorlie-Boulder areas.  Regional schools can also contact Waste Wise Schools for phone or online support to use this resource.

To organise a booking please contact us.

For more information about the items in this newsletter or for any questions about the Waste Wise Schools Program, please contact us at wastewise@dwer.wa.gov.au


Just for a laugh:

What do you call a conversation between two garbage cans? Trash Talk.