Department of Education



Churchlands Primary


Churchlands Primary School has significantly reduced their waste to landfill from 15kg to 400g per day using strategies including Zero Waste Lunches.

The starting point for Zero Waste Lunches was ensuring that students (and teachers) understood where waste from our school goes. A whole-school excursion (including pre-primary students and parents) was organised to Tamala Park in Mindarie, the major waste management facility in the Northern Suburbs.

Following, the Waste Wise Schools Program Education Officer introduced the concept of ‘Happy and Sad lunchboxes’. Happy lunchboxes have no waste to send to landfill. Sad lunchboxes contain non recyclable items such as alfoil, plastic, packets, wrapping and juice boxes.

Students were introduced to the concept of Smart Shop which is cheaper and better for the environment. An example was using a 2L juice to fill a 250mL reusable bottle rather buying eight non recyclable juice packs. The message was very clear that buying in bulk and decanting into smaller reusable containers was cheaper and better for the environment.

The Parent Environmental Committee agreed to communicate to parents at the P&C group meetings how they could reduce the waste from their children’s lunches, including by avoiding plastic and aluminium foil wrapping and by minimising the packaging component.

A key component of Zero Waste Lunches are scrap buckets for worms, chickens and compost placed in the eating area at recesses and lunchtimes. Scraps include brown paper bags left over from students’ lunches that are collected for shredding and placed in the worm farms and compost.


Educating students by analysing the contents of their lunchboxes and calculating each child’s contribution to the waste of the school is very important. Each student’s ‘environmental footprint’ related to their lunch waste was calculated.

Prior to the Zero Waste Lunch Day, ‘green team’ students:
1. made posters for each class to advertise the day;
2. went to each class to remind classes of what the zero waste lunch involves;
3. sent information about the waste free lunch to families through the newsletter; and
4. reminded parents, staff and students about Zero Waste Lunch Day at school assembly.

A display of ‘happy and sad lunchboxes’ was also placed outside room 1 to educate parents about this concept.

Zero Waste Lunch Day - 2008. The waste audit showed only 400g of litter from one lunch (350 students), a huge reduction from the previous 15kg!


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Teaching and Learning

The school’s Environmental Studies program’s overall aim was to reduce waste from the school to landfill by 50%.

Students were encouraged to develop good attitudes towards waste disposal and develop sound habits to minimise waste. The program aims to educate students, their families and the wider community about the need to protect and conserve our natural environment by reducing our ‘ecological footprint’.

The program is a long-term, whole-of-school approach to environmental awareness and supports implementation of the Curriculum Framework across all major learning areas, in particular Society and Environment. Most importantly it tackles the significant, real issue facing the community of reducing consumption and waste, thus supporting biodiversity protection and a reduction in pollution associated with climate change.

Every student from Pre-Primary to Year Seven has been educated about the concept of ‘sad and happy lunchboxes’ and implications for waste and ‘ecological footprint’.

Curriculum Links

English: Reading; Writing; Listening; Speaking
Mathematics: Measurement; Working Mathematically
Science: Investigating; Life and Living; Science in Daily Life
Technology and Enterprise: Technology process
Society and Environment: Investigation, Communication & Participation; Resources; Active Citizenship
Values: Social and Civic Responsibility; Environmental Responsibility

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Sustainability Action Planning

A staff member is employed half a day a week as Environmental Studies Coordinator to coordinate the environmental program at Churchlands Primary. The coordinator works directly with all students and liaises with staff and community members.

Projects have been conceived and implemented that have drawn on the interest and expertise of teachers, parents and our Environmental Committee, with the local community e.g. Rotary Club of Subiaco having opportunities to be involved in practical projects.

Education on Zero Waste Lunches takes considerable time to embed desirable habits within the school community. It is about beginning with students’ knowledge and understanding of the impact of waste on our environment, building through to the parents who make and pack the lunches and increasing parents’ understanding of how to achieve a ‘zero waste lunch box’.

Professional Development
• Whole school (staff and students) visit to Tamala Park
• Waste Wise Schools Program workshops
• Sustainable Schools Initiative WA (AuSSI-WA) – ‘Making the Connections’ workshop series
• Attending meetings at other schools to share ideas and progress including Jolimont Primary, Cottesloe Primary, Wembley Downs Primary, Floreat Park Primary, West Leeming Primary and Yuluma Primary
• Workshops at Churchlands Primary to mentor teachers and interested parents - how to integrate environmental studies/education for sustainability across learning areas
• Water Wise Schools Program (all staff)


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Philosophy and Ethos

Churchlands Primary’s philosophy is that by working together, we can make a difference. Zero Waste Lunch Days are important but they are only one part of a large, all encompassing whole-school sustainability program.

Some of the key messages we are aiming to achieve are:
• A litter free environment is a pleasant place to be;
• A litter free environment acknowledges pride in our school;
• Minimise litter. Minimise littering;
• Everyone is responsible for keeping the school litter free;
• Clean school, clean city, clean natural environment;
• "Think global, act local";
• Caring for the natural environment is an ongoing activity; and
• A sustainable world requires efficient use of resources and less waste.

Churchlands Primary has made environmental education/education for sustainability a school priority since 2007.Our aim is to continue to reduce our ‘ecological footprint’.

Churchlands Primary

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