Blackfriars is going green.
The school has launched Greenfriars – an action plan to raise awareness of environmental issues and prioritise sustainability across the campus.
Year 5/6 teacher Trent Allwood has been appointed Greenfriars’ Coordinator. He has spent the past term auditing the school’s waste-management systems and identifying improvements.
“We want to be looking at the consequences of poor waste management and how that can affect the world,” Mr Allwood said.
“We look at the world God created for us and we want the students to understand that there are consequences for that poor waste management. We want students to be motivated to be actively engaged in Greenfriars, to be doing the right thing. And that’s going to take time. Personally, I’m still learning a lot about sustainability.”
One of the first Greenfriars initiatives is a school-wide bread bag and plastic bread tag recycling scheme.
“You will see these boxes appearing around the school,” Mr Allwood said.
“They are for the bread bag recycling. It’s a soft-plastic scheme turning bread bags back into an oil that can be used for park benches, school benches, chairs, that sort of thing.
“The other thing is bread tag recycling. Bread tags – a lot now are cardboard, but there are still a lot of them that are plastic – they’re very hard to recycle because of how small they are. But there’s a company called Aussie Bread Tags for Wheelchairs that works to recycle plastic bread tags and turn them into wheelchairs for children with a disability in developing countries. So, I’ve got us on board with that.
“The more we can gather for that, the better. I think it’s really good for the students to have the opportunity to be able to see that when we do the right thing with recycling, there are those initiatives there that can be really meaningful for the people around us.”
Blackfriars will also team up with Mobile Muster to enable people to recycle their old mobile phones and will introduce a new bin system throughout the school.
“Greenfriars is an ELC to Year 12 initiative … so we want to make it work the best we can and we hope families will jump on board with that,” Mr Allwood said.
Among Greenfriars’ longer-term aims are:
- Encouraging walking and riding to school
- Creating and facilitating a student environment awareness group
- Aiming for “Green Star” ratings in new builds and renovations
- A transition to electric-powered maintenance equipment
- Optimising the teaching of sustainability education throughout the curriculum
Principal David Ruggiero said the Blackfriars community had a duty to be “stewards of the environment”.
“Greenfriars will draw from our Dominican traditions, build on past achievements and set targets and aims to meet today’s environmental challenges,” Mr Ruggiero said.
“For Greenfriars to succeed, it will need to be embedded into Blackfriars culture. We aim to embed environmental sustainability knowledge, as appropriate, across all year levels. We acknowledge the Earth as a God-given gift and we respect our relationship with the natural environment and its life-sustaining ecosystems.”
The Greenfriars action plan will be launched online on Monday 5 June, to coincide with World Environment Day.