Sustainable Schools

Schools across Australia help protect the environment

You can have a big impact on sustainability by getting active at school to save water and energy, and reduce waste.

Cobains children plantingHow sustainable is your school?

“Treat the Earth well. It was not given to you by your parents. It was loaned to you by your children.” Kenyan Proverb

Facts about sustainability

  • Australians produce 1.9 tonnes of waste per person
  • Recycling 1 tonne of aluminium saves 13,300 kilowatts of electricity
  • 48% of Australian waste could be made into compost and mulch

Did you know, on average the annual electricity use by a school in Australia would…

  • burn 417 tonnes of coal
  • need the equivalent of 8 tennis courts of solar panelling
  • use 1,581,107 litres of water in a coal fired power station

woodbridge IMG_5254How can you help make your school more sustainable?

  • Create a school Green Team – include students, teachers, parents and community members. Sharing the load is easier and more fun! Roles may include a media/communications committee, on ground action committee/steering committee
  • Conduct audits to collect your baseline data ie how much water and energy your school currently uses, how much waste it produces and what is the habitat value of your school grounds – you need to be able to measure your progress to celebrate your future successes!
  • Engage the whole school through teacher professional Learning and a Sustainable School launch celebration
  • Develop a SEMP – School Environmental Management Plan – including your vision for change, reduction targets and priority actions – group your actions under school operations/curriculum/infrastructure.
  • Source funding for actions and develop action plans which include timelines, people responsible and resources required – see for a chance of some start up funds
  • Write a Sustainability policy for your school and a green purchasing policy
  • Take action! These might include:


Create an indigenous garden to improve Biodiversity and habitat

Catching bugs below the treeEnergy:

  • Reduce energy by developing a shut down routine and policy for classrooms
  • Hold a competition to create a “switch off” poster that goes up on every door
  • Hold a dress up day to promote dressing appropriately for the weather so heating and   cooling is reduced


  • Put icecream containers under the bubblers to reduce water wastage – use the water for the garden
  • Get rain water tanks and dual flush toilets to reduce water use – (ask your teachers to help with  that one!)


  • Set up a three bin system and promote it to all students and staff – compost, recycling and landfill.
  • Have rubbish free lunch days – students have to bring lunches without packaging

SLC northern view 4 Nov 2012Try this:

Find out just what makes the Sustainable Learning Centre at Mount Nelson so sustainable. Come visit us!

Check out this site to see how solar panels on schools have reduced carbon emissions.

Info flash:

Lend Lease’s 10 storey Forte` Melbourne apartment block is the world’s tallest wooden building – the specially manufactured wood has the strength of concrete and steel – it also serves as a carbon sink – it is more resistant to earthquakes and 30% quicker to build than using traditional multi-storey materials.” Australian Financial Review

More about Sustainability:

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