Teachers tackle waste in schools

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Teachers became the students last week as they learnt more about reducing waste in schools.

Enviroschools representatives gathered with teachers from Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes District last week to discuss how education facilities could continue to reduce waste.

Nineteen schools, including early childhood centres, primary and secondary schools, were represented at the hui, hosted at the Cromwell Presbyterian Church.

Enviroschools regional coordinator Robyn Zink said the aim was to help teachers and their schools redesign waste to regenerate the planet.

‘‘Waste is a huge issue for schools, so today we are giving teachers some ideas and resources on how to get children engaged in thinking about waste.’’

Schools have embraced the opportunities around reducing waste, so the hui was about sharing some of those ideas with others, she said.

‘‘On a whole, there’s an increased awareness and increased interest in how to deal with waste and, certainly, there’s a lot of focus on nude food — how to get waste out of the lunch box — and we are seeing more of that.’’

The issue was not an easy fix and would require a collective approach to change attitudes around waste.

‘‘It’s not just about individuals taking action, but how can we collectively work on this issue.’’

Schools had welcomed engagement around the issue, Dr Zink said.

A range of guest speakers attended last week’s hui, including Wastebusters Wanaka project manager Sophie Ward and Central Otago District Council waste minimisation officer Abi Hawkins.

Cromwell Primary School principal Wendy Brooks also attended the event to showcase how the school had changed its policies to reflect sustainability.

Enviroschools hosts two huis throughout the year — one for teachers and the other for children.