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ECC Environmental Advocates Urge Government Action on Soft Plastic Recycling

In early September, our ECC made a submission to the Parliament of South Australia, inviting the select committee to consider the voices of our children regarding ideas and future possibilities for the inquiry into recycling of soft plastics and other recyclable materials in South Australia.

The project demonstrates children’s capacity to collaborate, share their ideas, express their thinking, and engage their curiosity, creativity, problem-solving and imagination. The children shared their concerns that while they are doing their part to separate the soft plastics and dispose of them in our staff room, in the end, it all ends up in landfill.

The children had the opportunity to reflect on the REDcycle program within Nazareth, and they shared their feelings of concern as to why it had stopped and possible ways to re-establish it.

“Because we don’t have a soft plastics bin, we have to now put it in the landfill, that’s the wrong one. We could say please to Woolworths and Coles to give it back and make sure they take it to the right spot this time,” says Julia.

Joshua reflects, “we collect all our packets from food but don’t have the plastic bin, so the rubbish truck takes it and mixes it all together.

“I feel sad because the plastics I pick up are not going in the right trash,” says Camila.

The children then thought further of possible ways to reduce the amount of soft plastic usage. Many brainstormed creative and innovative ways to fix the problem. They displayed advocacy in making a sustainable change in our environment. This involved creating posters and standing at the school fence to advocate for appropriate recycling practices. The students explored ways to re-use scrap paper after noticing the paper wastage within the ECC, and they learned how to make paper during the process.

The solutions that were proposed to the committee include:

  • Encouraging stores such as Coles and Woolworths to offer customers recyclable boxes to pack and store their groceries in place of plastic bags, to these same companies holding responsibility for independently re-establishing the REDcycle program through self-funding or accessing Government support.
  • Minimise the production of plastic bottles and replace them with options such as glass.
  • A facility that community members can access to recycle their soft plastics, similar to the can and bottle recycling spaces across SA.

The submission was well received, with Nazareth Early Childhood Centre being the only educational institution to make a submission, with the Secretary commenting, “it really was a delight to read and wonderful that the children are so interested and innovative”.

Nazareth ECC Administration Officer Christy says, “we look forward to seeing how the children’s ideas can be adopted and next steps from the South Australian Government”.


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