Greener ways to litter-acy

Three-quarters of this new entrants class at the Wanaka Primary School show their lunch boxes are ''litter free''. Photo by Mark Price.
Three-quarters of this new entrants class at the Wanaka Primary School show their lunch boxes are ''litter free''. Photo by Mark Price.
Wanaka's Mt Aspiring College is setting out to get rid of all 37 of its rubbish bins by later this year.

And if it is successful, it will save the $7800 annual cost of emptying them.

The catch for parents is that they can expect whatever rubbish their children take to school in the morning will arrive home with them in the afternoon.

The scheme is being promoted by the college's Team Green group.

Principal Wayne Bosley told the Otago Daily Times this week any savings that result will go into other sustainability projects.

Mr Bosley said the idea was for people to take ''total responsibility'' for rubbish.

''We have set ourselves the goal of trying to become bin-free by some stage this year.''

He agreed the scheme was a variation on the ''leave nothing but footprints'' policy encouraged among visitors to New Zealand's National Parks.

''It's just trying to turn around an age-old issue about litter in schools.''

Those seen ''doing the right thing'' by picking up other people's litter will be issued with a ''gotcha'' card and go into a prize draw.

Mr Bosley said there were logistical problems to solve before the school went bin-free but there had already been a big improvement.

He was not aware of any other school being bin-free.

Team Green's research revealed it took 252 hours a year to empty the college's bins and even then there was still litter around.

Wanaka Primary School is taking another approach to its litter problem.

Principal Wendy Bamford said the school was trying to convince parents not to send food wrappings to school but to use recyclable containers for lunches.

That way children would not drop food wrappings during the rush to the playground at lunch time or while playing, she said.

''If the lunch boxes are coming to school without wrappers, then half your problem's eliminated.''

- mark.price@odt.co.nz