World Environment Day

Stephen gave the following speech in Parliament on the 10th June, 2021.

"I take this opportunity in parliament today to speak about World Environment Day and the great work that people in my community are undertaking. Environment protection and conservation are high priorities for many in my local community, and we are so lucky to have schools in Morphett that are really engaged with environmental protection and how we can do our part locally.

St Mary's Memorial School in Glenelg is one of those schools, and the year 4s have recently been focused on sustainability and what they can do to help the environment. As I have mentioned previously in this place, I hosted a Clean Up Australia Day event in March this year along the Glenelg and Glenelg South beaches, and students from St Mary's helped in our efforts to keep our beaches and coast park clean.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to attend the St Mary's year 4 sustainability assembly, where they talked about what the class is doing. The class has been watching documentaries on the topic, such as War on Waste, and have been undertaking activities in class. Students Blake, Scarlett, Olivia and Oisin explained at the assembly that one of these activities was a bin audit, where the class collected all the bins from around the school, emptied them out and sorted the rubbish into various categories.

These categories included hard plastics, soft plastics, organics, paper and cardboard, tissues, pencil sharpenings, and drink containers. The class discovered that all around the school classes were not using the correct bins for recycling waste. They then decided to do something about this. They broke up into small groups to discuss how they could create awareness around the school regarding recycling.

Sienna and her group, called Care for the Earth, created a PowerPoint presentation and a game to teach other kids about what rubbish goes into which bins. Tilly and the Green Thumbs decided to make recycled artwork with plastics from the rubbish bins. Isla and the Wild Girls designed and printed T-shirts, tote bags, stickers and magnets to sell, with the proceeds going towards a rainforest charity. Other groups included Jake and the Bin Pizzas, who created a game, Finn and the Sustainable Monkeys, Ryan and the Team Trees, Brodie and the Waste Warriors, Tyler and the Sustainability War Bros and Isabelle and the SDF, which stands for Sustainability Defence Force.

A special mention has to go Grace, Arla, Rachel, Alex, Addi and Portia from the Eco Girls. They wrote me a letter as their local member of parliament and hand-delivered it to my office. The Eco Girls wrote that, while the school has recycling bins in the yard, the bin audit showed that a lot of the rubbish went into the classroom bin that went straight into the red bin, so they asked if I could help provide them with recycling bins in their classroom.

After doing some investigation, I found an SA company called Bin Shift, that provides small-scale cardboard recycling bins that could sit in the year 4 classroom. I purchased a starter pack for them and presented it to them at their assembly. The pack was made up of four small cardboard recycle bins and also some bio bag liners, which are certified compostable. Two of these bins were mixed recycle yellow bins for items that can be recycled, such as metal, glass, hard plastics, paper and cardboard. These are all valuable resources that need to stay in the recycling loop so we can help create our circular economy.

The other two bins were soft plastic bins that are to be filled up with the scrunchy, soft plastics so much of our food is wrapped in. Soft plastics should not be put in the normal yellow recycling bin; they can only go either in the landfill bin or, even better, the soft plastics bin so they can be taken to a REDcycle bin at participating Coles and Woolworths stores to be recycled.

After only a few weeks in operation, I am pleased to report that the use of these recycle bins in the classroom has been very heavily undertaken, such that the nightly cleaner has asked who is cleaning the bins in the year 4 level, as there is regularly no rubbish in the standard waste bin. Well, the answer is that all the year 4s have diligently been putting their soft plastics, paper, food wrappers and bottles in the recycle bins. Congratulations to all the St Mary's Memorial year 4s. Keep up the good work."

World Environment Day