For sustainable society


Australian high school removes trash cans

 An Australian girls’ school “Melbourne Girls’ College” has removed all trash cans from its campus. Teachers and students are allowed only to recycle and compost certain waste items and must take everything else home for disposal.

 Principal Karen Money encourages students to pack lunches in their own containers and to buy items with less packaging. At the school, a system that gives prizes to the student who generated the least garbage has been introduced using the model from national parks in Australia.

The trigger of this activity is an environmental team, organized by the students. Participating in the “Plastic-Free challenge” held every July in Australia and taking science classes on plastic contamination brought students to begin to think about garbage issues.When Andrew Vance, who is a science teacher, investigated the garbage discharged at school, it was found that the amount of garbage the school produced in 2018 was equivalent to 954 cubic meters of landfill, and it costed $13,000 to remove them. The environmental team has been consulting with students and parents for six months to reduce trash from the school, and the school finally decided to remove trash cans.

 While CNN and the Guardian reported about this news, some people pointed out that, on SNS such as Twitter, “it’s just moving trash from one location to another.”  However, the effect of carrying waste around all day long is tremendous. To be free from this inconvenience and discomfort, students will figure out that they need to make little change in their habits.

 In addition, the school sends a strong warning to manufacturers and retailers. According to Paula MacIntosh, a teacher who supported the environmental team, “Avoid, reuse, responsibility – they’re our “hashtags” for this whole thing. We are asking manufacturers to stop over-packaging their products and adopt packaging that returns to nature.” Some schools may have the same approach as Melbourne Girls’ College in the future.