Melbourne Girls’ College to remove all bins

27 August 2019

Written by: Ollie Nash

The idea follows the lead of Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Melbourne Girls’ College is removing all of its rubbish bins on campus to try and move towards zero waste.

Starting next Monday, the school has decided to phase out the use of their bins, asking students and staff to take their rubbish home to dispose of it.

The removals will also include the college’s recycling bins after the collapse of SKM Recycling, which was going to force the school’s plastic and glass recycling to be sent to landfill.

In a bid to encourage the movement, students will conduct daily non-compulsory food inspections, rewarding others who have bought a zero-waste lunchbox.

Students will receive tokens if they can reduce their waste, all of which will go into a draw to win prizes such as keep cups.

Talking to The Age, senior teacher Paula McIntosh says the movement could backfire on the school, but they must try it to find a solution to their wastage issue.

“It might all go to hell in a hand-basket. Who knows? But we’ve got to try,” she said.

McIntosh says the drive to make the change came from Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, who started a school strike for climate change outside the Swedish Parliament in 2018.

This created the Fridays For Future movement that now includes over 100,000 school children worldwide.

The idea to remove bins then came from national park guidelines, which asks all of its visitors to keep their rubbish and take it home.

School principal Karen Money says it is their role as educators to follow the likes of Thunberg and put words into action.

“We talk a lot, as educators, about the wicked problems the world faces, and if we don’t start putting some actions behind that rhetoric, then it’s just empty,” she said.

The school understands some of the issues that families may face in limiting their single-use food packaging, such as the time factor, but McIntosh says it’s about getting as many families as they can to avoid it.

Student environment leader at the school, Lucy Skelton, has provided a couple of guidelines to avoid issues such as smell and mess when taking rubbish home.

She says something such as uneaten tuna in a tin, can go into the school’s compost bin and the tin can be washed and taken home to be thrown out.


Photo: Bins by steve p2008 available HERE and used under a Creative Commons Attribution. The image has not been modified.