At the College, we are always looking for ways for students to make their mark. The article below featured on the Open Noosa website about how our Environment leaders are making a difference in the College.
by Desire Gralton
It was interesting hearing NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Adern announcing the plastic bag ban in NZ this week, saying that most of the letters she received from the community were about plastic pollution, and that most of those were from children.Locally, I also see our younger generation leading the way. While Sunshine Beach State High School is aiming to become a Plastic Free Noosa champion by eliminating six key single use plastic items from their campus, the students at St Teresa’s Catholic College are also kicking goals.St Teresa’s Environmental Leader, Morgan Pettit-Granger, has been the driving force at her school, applying for grant funding to set up a composting system and garden bed and collating information from subject leaders to include environmental issues in the curriculum.Morgan plans to talk to Year 12 girls about a more sustainable approach to women’s health, beauty and sanitary products, introducing them to a range of options like Modibodi underwear, moon cups and reusable sanitary pads.One of Morgan’s biggest goals was to improve St Teresa’s recycling output. This has now been achieved thanks to just a few simple changes including clearly identified bin stations, each with a landfill and recycling bin situated together. The bins now have clearer signage and hands-free bin lids. From these changes, the College was able to increase the amount of recycling eligible for council pick up from just one to two bins a fortnight to 10 or more!Morgan’s efforts in raising awareness and improving recycling rates has resulted in the school gaining a $3,700 credit from Noosa Council due to decreased collection of waste going to landfill. Over a six month period the cost savings will amount to a whopping $4,800, proving that environmental projects need not cost the earth!She’s also investigating how the school can become a donation point for the Container Deposit Scheme to be introduced in November 2018, which is sure to raise more funds for the school.The College has also introduced Nude Food Days, where students are encouraged to bring aplastic free lunch to school to reduce the amount of single-use plastic waste coming into the school grounds. Middle School Environmental Leader, Fleur Hussein, has put together some great videos of good examples to show at assembly. By sharing what others are doing they are creating a ripple effect that will hopefully result in the practice becoming the norm.Morgan said the Unitywater retro caravan refill station they arranged for the sports day was also a big hit, with students opting to refill rather than buying bottled water. The Back to Tap van is a free service provided by Unitywater and an excellent way to cut back on waste at big events.“It’s great that we have so many teachers and students interested in making some changes. A special thanks to the groundsmen Simon Mikkelson and Michael Hunt, as well as Michael’s wife Cathryn Hunt, the school business manager, who have been great contributors to our success so far,” Morgan said.The College will apply for Bronze accreditation with Eco Schools Austalia towards the end of the year, having ticked off most of the criteria needed to achieve this worthy title.Well done to Morgan and St Teresa’s College leading the way to a more sustainable future.