GREEN HERO: Rachelle King is fighting the war on waste in our schools.
GREEN HERO: Rachelle King is fighting the war on waste in our schools. Warwick West State School

Fighting the war on waste in schools

NOT all superheroes wear capes, however this Warwick West State School mother donned one at the school's fete to teach our children a lesson in recycling.

During the school's annual fete families received a visit from a recycling superhero, who was on a mission to look after the environment.

The identity behind the green crusader belongs to Rachelle King who has been working with the primary school developing recycling practices for the students to participate in.

Her fete stall demonstrated there's more to recycling than paper from plastic, she had multiple bins set up for different materials such as paper, cardboard, cans and compost.

Mrs King said part of recycling education was understanding how to dispose of materials properly.

"We need to teach people to look at labels more and learn where their waste belongs,” she said.

"Even the youngest of children were pointing which bins the cans needed to go in at the fete because of the creative signs.”

Inspired by the war on waste television series, Mrs King realised how little recycling she did at her home.

"I stopped to look at the lack of recycling there was and I decided it was time for a change,” she said.

Influencing her children at home, she approached the schools to see the recycling practices they had for children.

"I realised we educated students on recycling but we weren't supporting the knowledge with the ability to recycle at school,” Mrs King said.

From there, Mrs King coordinated with the school to implement a paper and cardboard recycling for the Year 3 classrooms.

"Each class has a recycled reflex paper box, clearly marked one for paper and one for cardboard,” she said.

"Every Tuesday and Thursday these boxes are emptied by the students into the appropriate wheelie bins.”

With the bins on parade, the recycling program has picked up interest from older grades.

Moving away from paper, Mrs King also set up recycling for ink cartridges at the school.

"Ink cartridges were going into landfills when they were empty when there are more environmentally friendlier ways of disposing them,” she said.

With Mrs King's help the school is now registered with Planet Ark Recycling, to which they send away their empty ink cartridges to be turned into various stationery items such as new toner cartridge or pens.

"I encourage all school and businesses to review their process for ink cartridges disposal and make the change today,” Mrs King said.

"It's a simple process, filling out an online form, printing labels and posting away the ink cartridges.

"Small changes can lead to big differences and certainly for the better.”

Ready to start a new movement Mrs King is lobbying for the Queensland Department of Education to reassess the waste budget for school.

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