Competition inspires kids to recycle

Article image - Competition inspires kids to recycle  Cooktown State School students show off some of their recycling hauls As the meeting place of the Great Barrier Reef, the Wet Tropics and the Outback, preserving the beautiful country of Cook Shire is very important to its community.

Earlier this year the Shire started promoting recycling in a different way by introducing a recycling competition between five local primary schools.

Fifteen teams from Cooktown State School, Endeavour Christian College, Rossville State School, Laura State School and Lakeland State School participated in the competition, a total of 293 children.

Cook Shire’s location makes it incredibly hard for the Shire to recycle in a cost effective way. Recycling plastic is one of the biggest concerns due to its harms on the environment and particularly the Reef. Plastic bottles on the beaches and in the sea are unfortunately quite a common sight.

Kids were set a task to collect PET (type 1) and HDPE (type 2) plastic containers, all of which had to be rinsed off and lids removed.

The competition ran for three months to make recycling a habit for children and their families.

In the first month the children collected 9391 containers, equal to 24.38 cubic metres of plastic diverted from landfill. The top five kids alone collected 2797 containers, nearly a third of the total.

Five-year old Tanya, from the Cooktown State School team REDUCE, REUSE RECYCLE!!! collected 811 containers in March.

Cook Shire Council Waste Management Coordinator Kristina Kossinskaja said children had been busy collecting bottles for the competition during the annual Cooktown Beach Clean-up on the 19th of May.

“It was an educational day for them to see how much rubbish ends up on our beaches and that unfortunately most of it is made of plastic. Kids were allowed to take eligible containers home and with that diverted at least two cubic metres of plastic from landfill.”

Prizes, sponsored by Cook Shire Council, will be given in two categories – Best Recycler and Best Team. The top five individual collectors will receive a Kindle e-book reader, and the top three teams will receive cash prizes for their class.

Ms Kossinskaja said at the time of publication the kids had so far collected 22,707 containers.

“That is 6.67 containers for every resident of Cook Shire!

“A plastic container is easily recyclable and has a value. I hope that this is a lesson all of those 293 kids will learn.

“So far you rarely see a plastic bottle on our streets and accessible beaches because the kids are everywhere and they know better.”