Waste Education School Programs

Sustainable waste education from pre-school to college and TAFE’s

The earlier we learn about the importance of recycling and sustainability, the more it will affect our future actions. Our award-winning programs engage students of all ages and help bring the sustainability story to life. By showing children and teenagers the difference they can make as individuals and as a group, they actively learn how to help make a sustainable future possible.

Age-appropriate waste and sustainability programs

Across Australia, Cleanaway offers a schools incursion program where our Waste Education Officers visit schools to teach waste education and sustainability information. Our schools programs complement the national and state syllabuses while incorporating local council requirements, minimising conflicting information for proper waste management.

Preschools and primary schools

Young children are naturally curious. They love learning about how stuff work and get a real buzz out of being helpful. Our preschool and primary school programs actively encourage the children’s curiosity and encourage them to participate in household and school waste and recycling efforts. We also teach them how to make the right choices not only in dealing with waste, but also in preventing it in the first place.

Secondary schools

To engage older students, we help them deepen their understanding of the finite nature of our planet’s resources and the huge role sustainability plays in our future. We show them how materials are made, demystify the process of resource recovery and recycling, explore issues around recycling bin contamination and draw a line through their efforts today and a sustainable tomorrow. Equipping enquiring minds with the knowledge and understanding of good waste management practices, helps them to help us make a sustainable future possible.

The kNOw Waste™ schools and community education program (NSW only)

kNOw Waste™ is Cleanaway’s waste education program in NSW that teaches children the importance of sustainability, and recycling. The modules are designed to improve children’s knowledge about waste issues, environmental impact and positive environmental behaviours. Lessons are scaled to educational levels, with younger students given hands-on lessons on bins while older children are exposed to the larger aspects of sustainability in the environment. With a train-the-trainer approach, kNOw Waste™ students often end up teaching their peers and families, with an average reach of 2.7 people per household. Neighbourhoods around the schools usually report a positive impact on kerbside recycling contamination rates after program delivery.


  • Connecting with, and contributing to the world
  • Creating partnerships with families and community to reinforce learning
  • Learning through play

Primary and secondary schools

  • Understanding the way social, economic and environmental systems interact to support and maintain human life
  • Appreciating and respecting the diversity of views and values that influence sustainable development
  • Participating critically and acting creatively in determining more sustainable ways of living

kNOw Waste™ programs are council-based and adapted to the waste regulations of each council. The syllabus is revised periodically to accommodate environmental policy updates. Since its inception in 2007, the kNOw Waste™ program has taught over 200,000 students in kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, particularly supporting kerbside waste education in early childhood education.