Waste Reduction

Facts and Figures

Waste is a big issue in Australia! Waste can come in many forms: liquid waste, solid rubbish or litter, hazardous waste, organic waste such as food and recyclable waste

Sadly, most of this waste ends up in landfill or disposed off in our local environments, when more should be recycled or re-used. But, the most important thing we can do as EcoMarines is to ensure we refuse wasteful items altogether. Here are some facts:

  • In Queensland alone, each year, more than 20 football stadiums of waste is produced by people

  • Australia is improving with over half of waste produced in 2020 being sent for recycling!


Football stadiums of waste is produced by people in Queensland alone!
0 %
and more of waste produce in 2020 is thankfully being sent for recycling!

This EcoMarines theme is a very important one! Your job is to use the challenges below to educate your school and community on how to reduce waste and to show your community ways to re-use wasteful items.

Waste Reduction Challenges

The top priority for EcoMarines Ambassadors is to reduce the amount of waste and litter found in your school and community. Well, our friends at Cleanaway are here to help!

We want you to make a creative art piece out of the most common waste items found in your school to raise awareness about these problematic items and give alternative options so people can eliminate them. 

The school with the best recycled art piece and story will be announced at ‘The Wave’ and receive a school visit from Cleanaway’s Waste Education Officer!

Step 1

Ambassadors complete an audit to identify the key litter items found in your school, or waste items from the tuck shop or lunch boxes *organic waste is excluded*.  

Step 2

Pick the top 3 items you want to focus on and start collecting them around the school. Brainstorm ideas how you can make an art piece out of these items collected to raise awareness in your school community. 

Step 3

It’s time to get creative! You can make anything you want with the materials collected (see photos on this page for ideas).

Step 4

Email Dini 2-3 photos of your art piece and a brief write-up about your creation and how/why you came up with it. Submissions are due Friday 8th October (Week 1, Term 4).

The school with the winning design/story will be announced at The Wave and have their photo published on Cleanaway’s social media account.  They will also win an interactive recycling presentation from a Cleanaway Education Officer and a prize pack to share with students! 

Step 5

Ambassadors present at assembly:

  • Show your art piece and explain why you made it and what products were used.

  • Make suggestions for people to avoid or eliminate using these products. For example, if you found lots of mini chip packets you could suggest families buy one big bag and just fill a reusable container with chips for lunch each day.

  • We suggest doing another audit to see if those key waste items have decreased. This will prove if you’ve successfully created behavioural change in your school!

Display your art piece at school and talk to students about these problematic waste items. Maybe include it in your school newsletter and social media as well!

One of the places where there is a lot waste in schools is in students lunch boxes!

From wrappers, to plastic containers, to plastic wrap there are lots of rubbish in lunch boxes that can easily be swapped out for more eco-friendly options. To reduce waste in lunchboxes, you can run a waste-free lunches campaign in your school! 

Step 1

Plan how to integrate wrapper-free lunches in your school! 

Here are some ideas: 

  • Focus on one day a week where you ask students to bring a waste-free lunch. This can be the waste-free lunch day or the nude-food day or event the litter-free lunches day!

  • Focus on one year level for a term

  • Start off with ‘low-waste lunches’ instead of ‘waste-free lunches’ to help students ease into this challenge!

Here are a few things to consider to make your waste-free campaign a success!


Make waste-free lunches a competition between classes!

  • Each class can have a sticker chart so each student that brings a waste-free lunch gets a sticker

  • Use a simple survey platform like KwikSurveys to send the class’ waste-free lunch numbers through 

  • Ambassadors can go to each classroom and record how many waste-free lunches each class has


For competitions, you can present the winning class with a prize at assembly. Prize ideas include: 

  • Waste-free lunch trophy made out of food packaging 

  • Provide a waste-free morning tea for the winning class

  • A book for the winning class. Here are some eco-book ideas

  • Waste-free mascot! Have a soft-toy or statue that the winning class can keep for the week. How about a waste-free walrus?

Data Collection

Collecting data before your waste-free lunch days and after is a great way to show campaign success: 

  • You could consider tracking plastics, glass, metal and more in each lunch box using our Waste Data Collection Sheet

  • You can also show how many students bought a waste-free lunch for the term and how it increases over-time

  • Visuals are great! Use graph’s and pictures to show your data.

Step 2

Promote and advertise waste-free lunches in your school!  Get creative, check out this video by Bulimba State School, they made up a rap song to promote “Wrapper Free Wednesdays” at their school​

Teach your peers what a waste-free lunch looks like! Make sure you give examples of low-waste options like using reusable containers, beeswax wraps, paper recyclable bags and reusable water bottles. 

Step 3

Get parents on board! Nine times out of ten, students’ parents are the ones who organise school lunches. So it is important to give them all the resources they need to be able to easily make a waste-free lunch!

Check out these tips and lunchbox ideas …..
Tips for Waste-free Lunches
The Wishart 6
Packing a Waste Free Lunch Box

School Spotlights!

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