Our tamariki are the future, so how can we empower them to reduce waste from an early age?
To Naenae Primary School principal Murray Booten, education is key to changing mindsets around waste. The school has been a part of the Enviroschools programme since 2006, and now holds Green-Gold status.
Naenae Primary has several vegetable gardens and an orchard, which the kids love to bring home produce from. Children are encouraged to take their lunch box rubbish home, and the number of disposable drink bottle numbers in the school stays low through a water only policy.
And waste reduction doesn’t stop there; it extends to all members of the school community including cleaners and caretakers. One of the challenges faced is the time it takes to sort waste when “it’s a lot easier to chuck everything in one bag and throw it into the waste bin”.
Murray’s message is that “we need to be aware of our own input into sustainability”. He reduces waste in his own life through his shopping, noting “If you’re going to the supermarket; look at what you’re buying and how you’re buying it”.
Small changes make a big difference, and giving our tamariki the tools to lead sustainable lives through Enviroschools is having a big impact.
Naenae School’s tips to help you on your journey:
Tip 1: Find out if your child’s school is an Enviroschool, and encourage them to get involved.
Tip 2: Consider waste-free lunchbox options.
Tip 3: Shop smart by avoiding non-recyclable plastic packaging.