Local youth become recycling champions

Article image - Local youth become recycling champions Sticker competition Recycling category winner Zoe Mckellar-Smith from St Helens District High School with Council’s Project Manager, David Jolly and Councillor Glen McGuiness

When Break O’Day Council, a small, rural municipality on the East Coast of Tasmania, decided to introduce recycling, they faced some big community education issues – local young people provided the answer.

The biggest of these being that the current waste bin in the municipality had a yellow lid, the Australian standard for recycling.
This means that the existing bins would have to become recycling bins and new waste bins would have to be delivered.

Despite the complexity of the message, Council’s plan was simple: empower the children of the area to become recycle champions.
“The theory was that if we could get the local children excited and informed, they would spread the messages to their parents, grandparents and other family members.

“We essentially utilised the ‘nag power’ of the future generation,” Mayor Mick Tucker said.

To do this the council ran a sticker competition in both local schools where students got to design either a waste sticker or a recycling sticker which would be stuck to the bin lids in an effort to help distinguish which was for what.

“The effort and ideas the kids had were just amazing and the judges had a really tough time deciding on the winning entries,” Mayor Tucker said.

Council then worked with the Northern Tasmanian Waste Management Group (NTWMG) to help get the children excited and on the road to being recycling champions.

This involved NTWMG Education officers attending both schools where they ran workshops on why we should recycle, what can and can’t be recycled as well as promoting Council’s sticker competition.

“We also ran an education campaign through our Facebook page that highlighted what can and can’t be recycled.

“We produced fact sheets which were sent out with rates notices and made sure that all information was easily available through our website,” Mayor Tucker said.

Once the new bins arrived, Council workers stuck all the student designed general waste stickers on the lids so there could be no confusion.

The recycling sticker, as well as a collection schedule and further information was delivered with the bins.

The kerbside collection is starting in the first week of December and Break O’Day Council is eagerly waiting to see how residents go with the new service.

Mayor Tucker has high hopes: “All in all residents seem really comfortable with the change but, as they say, the proof will be in the pudding.”