All it takes sometimes is a vision – Eco Committee

Making a difference and creating change particularly linked to the environment is often met with protests of ‘My actions won’t change anything’, ‘I won’t make any impact’, ‘What can we really do’?

Mrs Izod-Miller, Mr Millington and the Eco-Committee we want to show you how a vision, created sometime in September by many of you reading this now has made a difference, is changing ideas and can do amazing things.

A few weeks ago Zoe and Finn spoke to you in assembly about the Eco-Committee’s single use plastic campaign. By now we hope the negative impacts of our plastic hungry nation on the environment are not new to you. Plastic does not biodegrade, and most cannot be recycled. With the startling fact that by 2050 our oceans will contain more plastic than fish and that already research suggests plastic is floating around our own bloodstream we all need to take individual responsibility and do our bit.

We challenged you to surrender all your single use plastic over a two-week period so we could see how much plastic our school community really uses. Cornwallis closely followed by Collingwood and Howe collected the most plastic waste over this time. But, as a school an entire skip full of plastic was collected, and the committee, in collaboration with the DT department have been working tirelessly to create a display using this plastic waste.

Two displays have been created from this waste.

First, along the main corridor is an under-the-waves style display highlighting the types of ocean pollution that impact on water around the world.

Second stands a 12 ft Christmas tree in the DH made up of approximately 1000 plastic bottles collected by you. The structure is supported by a wooden frame made predominantly from a recycled wooden pallet. This frame supports the 34 layers of plastic which is made up by bagged meal water bottles and milk cartons.

Last week the carcass of a whale was washed up on the shores of a National park in Indonesia with nearly 6kg of plastic in its stomach. Items found included 115 drinking cups, four plastic bottles 25 plastic bags and two flip flops. Most single use plastic like those shopping bags and water bottles never get recycled- in fact only 7% of plastic ends up being recycled. The vast majority, contaminated, too expensive or not able to be recycled accumulates in landfill eventually ending up in our oceans. Yet every bit of plastic ever made still exists in some form in our world.

The plastic displays created by the eco-committee and DT department demonstrate how much of an impact you can have. During this project a colleague said to me ‘but all of this is recyclable, so it doesn’t matter right?’ Wrong. We must reduce our use and reliance on single use plastic, rather than presume recycling is the answer.

Our sincere thanks go to the tireless work and efforts of the superb eco-committee and DT department and not least of all to Ali Ng- this project would not have happened without his vision.

We hope these displays raise awareness of our need to be more sustainable and the vast amount of plastic waste created by one school in under two weeks. Your dining hall tree is designed to be a statement, a reminder of the true cost of plastic on our environment and the impact a few individuals can have.

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