Quick summary: Students engage in a school waste audit to determine the quantities and makeup of the waste generated at their school. This baseline data is collected to calculate the total waste output of the school. Students investigate landfill, co-mingled recycling, paper and organic waste. Based on this data schools can explore how to reduce their waste.
A1.1 – Have you undertaken waste audits at your school?
A1.3 – Has this data been entered as your baseline, and any anomalies explained?
Checklist data goals:
To find out how full the landfill and recycling bins/skips are when collected to measure actual waste output (in m3).
To find out how much organic waste is processed by school (in m3) per year.
Australian Curriculum Links:
Cross curriculum priorities
Sustainability: OI.3 – Sustainable patterns of living rely on the interdependence of healthy social, economic and ecological systems. OI.5 – World views are formed by experiences at personal, local, national and global levels, and are linked to individual and community actions for sustainability. OI.9 – Sustainable futures result from actions designed to preserve and/or restore the quality and uniqueness of environments.
Numeracy, Critical and creative thinking
Explicit content description
Year 7 Science
Some of Earth’s resources are renewable, but others are non-renewable (ACSSU116)
Year 7 Geography
Collect, select and record relevant geographical data and information, using ethical protocols, from appropriate primary and secondary sources (ACHGS048)
Reflect on their learning to propose individual and collective action in response to a contemporary geographical challenge, taking account of environmental, economic and social considerations, and predict the expected outcomes of their proposal (ACHGS054)
Year 8 Science
Science and technology contribute to finding solutions to a range of contemporary issues; these solutions may impact on other areas of society and involve ethical considerations (ACSHE135)
Year 8 Mathematics
Choose appropriate units of measurement for area and volume and convert from one unit to another (ACMMG195)
Year 8 Geography
Collect, select and record relevant geographical data and information, using ethical protocols, from appropriate primary and secondary sources (ACHGS056)
Reflect on their learning to propose individual and collective action in response to a contemporary geographical challenge, taking account of environmental, economic and social considerations, and predict the expected outcomes of their proposal (ACHGS062)
Year 9 Geography
Collect, select, record and organise relevant geographical data and information, using ethical protocols, from a range of appropriate primary and secondary sources (ACHGS064)
Year 10 Geography
Collect, select, record and organise relevant data and geographical information, using ethical protocols, from a range of appropriate primary and secondary sources (ACHGS073)
Connecting lessons:Litter audit – must be completed as a compulsory action.
Resources required: Writing materials, rubber gloves, camera or mobile phone with a camera or tablet device with a camera, access to a computer with a graphing program, map or plan of the school grounds, student worksheets, clip board (if using printed copies of worksheet).
Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.
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Overarching learning goal:
Students collect data from a range of sources and calculate the total amount of solid waste produced by a school.
Students understand that conducting a waste assessment is an easy and safe way to estimate the total amount of waste produced by a school, the number of bins around the school, the makeup of various types of bins and indications of contamination of recycling and food waste bins.
Students learn that waste assessments can be repeated on a yearly basis, helping a school to track any changes. It is especially helpful in providing data that shows a reduction in solid waste following the introduction of a new waste system or education program.
Teacher content information: When we dump rubbish at the tip (landfill) polluting greenhouse gases (methane) are released. This happens when food and green waste rots under mountains of other rubbish. This puts more greenhouses into our atmosphere and is starting to affect our climate
Activity 1. How much waste does our school produce?
NOTE: You will be calculating the amount of waste produced by your school over the course of one year. In our demonstration calculations we have counted one year as being 52 weeks or 12 months. You will need to work out how many weeks/months your school is open for during the year to get an accurate measurement for your school.
1. How big is your skip? To measure the volume of the school's skip bin, get a 1 metre ruler or a measuring tape. Measure the length, the height and the depth in metres ( L x H x D = Volume m3 ). If you have more than one landfill skip multiply the volume by the number of bins. Be sure to check that all the skips are the same size and adjust figures accordingly.
2. How often is it collected? Ask the office when your skips are emptied. It is most likely to be every week or fortnight.
3. How full is the skip when it's collected? Estimate how full the skip