Effective waste education for schools: a NSW case study

The kNOw waste program in NSW uses a variety of engaging formats to deliver curriculum-aligned waste and recycling education to students.

Learning - Our Services

April 21, 2021


The kNOw Waste Schools Education Program is extremely popular amongst teachers and well-received by children and local councils.

Tags: Education

The kNOw Waste Schools Education Program is extremely popular amongst teachers and well-received by children and local councils.

Cleanaway’s kNOw Waste™ Schools and Community Education Program is celebrating its 17th anniversary this year, having delivered over 5,000 workshops to more than 200,000 students since starting our first contract with the City of Canada Bay in 2004.

The award-winning program delivers environmental and sustainability education across greater Sydney and regional New South Wales and is aimed at promoting effective waste management and recycling best practices to students of all ages.

NSW Sustainability Manager, Rebecca Evered said, “The kNOw Waste Schools Education Program is just one of many educational endeavours delivered by the team to its municipal and commercial customers. It’s extremely popular amongst teachers and well-received by children and local councils. In Term 1 of this year alone, we delivered more than 110 workshops to schools and centres, educating 2,453 students.”

Pictured: Education Officer Andrew Snedden at a preschool education session 

Education Officer Andrew Snedden, one of the many passionate program facilitators on the team said, “There’s always something exciting happening over here with the kNOw Waste Program. This year, we started education programs with Randwick City and Georges River councils in the Sydney metro area – bringing our total council partners up to 10.”

“We also rolled out a new ‘Train-the-Trainer’ Program in the City of Ryde to support local preschool educators with the knowledge and confidence required to deliver waste education lessons to their students.”

Cleanaway created a new school education module for Randwick schools designed to educate students on their new FOGO (Food Organics Garden Organics) service and the benefits of composting FOGO material instead of sending it to landfill. This coincides with the new FOGO service contract that Cleanaway commenced with council on 1st March 2021.

The exciting new train-the-trainer program for preschools in the City of Ryde includes workshops that demonstrate how to effectively convey messages about the three-bin system, composting, and worm farming to young children aged three to five, with resources such as lesson plans, activity worksheets/handouts, teaching resources, and ideas for additional activities and follow-up lessons.

The audit component of the program will review current waste avoidance, reuse and recycling practices with a view to improving recycling outcomes in the schools. Audit techniques such as visual bin inspections and investigating existing recycling infrastructure will inform Cleanaway’s recommendations on how to increase landfill diversion and engage staff and children in resource recovery actions.

Pictured: Education Officer Charlotte Landini

The team are also actively engaging with government agencies on how to educate primary school students on the issue of food waste.

To extend the reach of the program, we also started an online webinar program to primary schools. The live 30-minute session includes interactive activities, videos, polls, Q&As and quizzes. Students will learn more about their council waste services and the different ways waste is managed sustainably. Every session is tailored to ensure it is curriculum aligned to Australian and state-specific syllabi and local council waste guidelines.

Drop us an email to register your interest for a webinar at education.nsw@cleanaway.com.au and find out more about our school’s programs here.

Looking for a free online resource that takes the confusion out of recycling? Here’s Greenius – a new e-learning platform to help kids (and adults) get recycling sorted!

Contact us to learn how we make a sustainable future possible for communities and businesses across Australia.