Kepnock High reaches recycling milestones

Annabelle Radel, Zane Cook, Aleera Jones, Lauren Elliott, Tameeka Stoddart, Ella Maloney. Picture: AARON GOODWIN

By Angela Norval

Not content to do things by halves, Kepnock State High School has shown the way when it comes to caring for the planet.

The school has now reached a whopping 72,684 containers recycled, which means over 72,000 less containers in landfill that will now be recycled, but they aren’t stopping there.

Kepnock State High School recycling team coordinator Andrea Fox said the program started halfway through 2019 as an initiative for the school.

“As a new staff member that year, I had seen an opportunity for this program to be implemented into the school and the potential it had to not only teach students about protecting the environment, but also raising money for student projects,” Ms Fox said.

“While it was slow to get started as the students were introduced to the yellow bins and actually recycling at school, the number of containers has been growing steadily since then.

“With introducing the bottle top bounty and other smaller recycling options at the school, it is allowing students, teachers and families to make an impact towards environmental protection.

“The first parts of our container for the change money was used to purchase the yellow recycling bins, along with a generous donation of one bin from the council and we are now looking at what other meaningful uses the money can have in the school.”

The school currently has students from years seven, 10 and 12 helping with recycling and the current year 10s have been working on Ms Fox’s recycling team since it began.

“For me personally, it’s a huge achievement as I worked alone with my small team of students running the program the last two years.

“Just this year, three more teachers have come on board to assist in lightening the load with the container sorting.

“What started as a pipe dream has become a reality and is allow Kepnock to really make a difference in our local area and reduce our school’s environmental footprint.

“None of this would have been possible without the support of our groundsman Jeff who has helped out with washing containers and taking them to the recycling point for the team. He is a legend.”

With the region being such an important rookery for turtles, every little bit of recycling makes a difference, with students dropping in lids, bread ties and other items for recycling from home.

Sea Turtle Alliance president Ainsley Gatley said one of the key messages of the Sea Turtle Alliance was that we can all make a difference.

“It is so encouraging to see the students and staff at Kepnock State High School all working together to make a change,” she said.

“We have the largest loggerhead rookery in the South Pacific and initiatives such as this one help raise awareness and actively reduces the waste going back into our local waste facilities.”

For Kepnock High, there are just so many opportunities, with their recycling program not only involving containers for change, but the bottle top bounty which recycles the plastic lids from their program and donations from the public.

They also recycle pens and writing materials through Officeworks, collect batteries and recycle them through the council program, and collect ring pulls which they are hoping can still go towards wheelchairs as they have a 44-gallon drum collected.

The school even collects pizza boxes which are used as compost/mulch for the agriculture farm. Bread ties go to the Brad recycling program and they collect the rum city security tags which are flattened and returned to be reused.

“Our amazing tuckshop is replacing plastic with reusable/compostable materials and have introduced recycled plastic material shirts and have so many more programs in mind.”