The creative year 10 students at the Esperance Farm Training Centre have been awarded this year’s Waste Authority Infinity Award for the Waste Wise Schools category.
Esperance Farm Training Centre teacher Bruce Fitzpatrick was presented with the award at the Waste Authority breakfast function at the Waste and Recycle Conference.
Mr Fitzpatrick said the community had responded very positively to the project and was extremely proud of the classes achievement.
After deciding to get involved with the ‘Festival of the Wind’, Mr Fitzpatrick said he and the students began brainstorming a recycling project, settling on recycling wooden pallets.
“We came up with the idea to use pallets to build planter boxes and connect to other community members that could help us,” he said.
“A lot of the students’ parents work for trucking companies and, when we brainstormed about what we could use, we could see and identify that pallets were something that were wasting and rotting away and that we could definitely use them.”
The students built over 45 planter boxes, giving them away at the festival.
After having seen the effort the class had put into the project, Mr Fitzpatrick nominated the class and Farm Training Centre for the award.
Mr Fitzpatrick said, since the activity, students had shown a lot of excitement about reusing materials for different purposes.
“The students are year 10, so 15-16 years old, and some of these students are fairly disengaged with school,” he said.
“They came back out to the Farming School to reengage and I think that this activity, working with reusable recycling materials, really worked in that respect.”
Mr Fitzpatrick said the key to the project was encouraging the students to work with the community and not just as a ‘single entity’.
The students have since begun working on another recycling project, this time using plastic.
“Obviously there is a huge problem with plastic waste floating around the ocean so we’re moving into a unit of work that looks at that,” he said.
“At the moment we’re looking at trying to make a little plastic mill.
“We’ve been going to clean up the beaches and keeping plastic tubs from containers here on the High School farm so that we can use that plastic by melting it down to make other things.”
Mr Fitzpatrick said teaching students about recycling was extremely important.
“The students are our future and I think it’s incredibly important they know what sort of an impact they can have and to be more conscious of their life footprint on the Earth,” he said.