Reducing Waste at Your School

Want to know more about how your school can reduce waste? How to get your students involved in reducing waste? Or planning any waste related activities this year?

I wish we could.. blackboard


Nelson Environment Centre provides a programme for schools that want to minimise waste, save money on waste disposal, and educate their students about the importance of reducing waste and conserving our precious resources.


Hyperwaste Art Expo - 22 6 12 (4)We can:

  • Conduct waste audits to find out what you are throwing away
  • Talk with your Board of Trustees and stakeholders to help embed waste reduction into your school curriculum and policies
  • Help you set up systems to minimise your school’s waste, and provide advice and information on sustainable purchasing practices
  • Deliver workshops to your class – full details below and here

Interactive & Engaging Sustainability Workshops for Schools & Community Groups

Sorted rubbish at school

Nelson Environment Centre has been delivering waste education programmes in schools and preschools for over 10 years with the support of Nelson City Council and Tasman District Council.  Our facilitator Sarah Langi is a trained teacher and has vast experience working with children, youth and adults.

Over the years we have developed a range of interactive eco-workshops which can be tailored to suit different ages, abilities and audiences.  Whether you are a preschool, school, community group, social club, or team of professional teachers – we can customise a workshop which will enlighten, inspire and provide some great strategies to live a more sustainable life.

Below is an overview of programmes our facilitator can deliver to your school or organisation. We can adapt any of these workshops to meet your individual needs so if you have a specific request give us a call.

Waste Audits /Introduction to Waste Management

Conducting a waste audit at your organisation can be a real eye opener. For schools and community organisations, our facilitator assists in sorting one day’s rubbish and encourages participants to explore the different options for dealing with their waste and examine why landfill is not an ideal choice. This session often ends with a challenge – to have a waste-free lunch day.

Zero-Waste lunches (all ages)parent eevening lunchbox photos

In school settings the waste audit often identifies that the non-recyclable waste at school often comes from plastic lunch packaging and food waste. Participants explore how to reduce these two waste streams: the ‘Stack-a-lunchbox’ activity helps students compare different lunch packing choices, leading to a personal challenge of creating a waste-free lunch.

Plastics in the Ocean (all ages)

Reducing the amount of plastic in our daily lives, especially single-use plastic, reduces our reliance on fossil fuels and benefits the environment, especially marine life. Participants learn how plastic is made, how it breaks up into small pieces rather than breaks down, and the harmful effects on the marine environment. A hands-on simulated feeding game reveals the effect of plastic on marine animals.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Reduce comes first!

It is a challenge for us all at times to understand that sometimes less is best. Through a series of visual displays, participants explore the environmental and financial impacts of consumerism and think about the changes they could make to lessen their own impact on the planet.


Worm farm workshopHardy kids recycle workshop 2

A hands-on demonstration of how a worm farm works and how these incredible creatures turn organic waste into a valuable resource. This is an interactive workshop where participants watch worms up close and consider what organic waste they should put in a worm farm.

Build a compost heap

A hands–on workshop where students build a compost heap, learning which ingredients make a healthy compost: greens are rich in nitrogen and browns are rich in carbon. Getting this balance right makes healthy compost for your veggie garden!

EM Bokashi

Many organisations and schools are now opting to deal with their organic waste using an EM Bokashi system. This workshop introduces participants to the process and benefits of composting using effective micro-organisms.

Broadgreen ZW challenge IMG_2106 (2)

Which composting system will meet our needs?

This workshop compares the advantages and disadvantages of worm farming, E.M. Bokashi and composting so that participants can learn each technique and work out which system will suit their organisation’s needs best.

Electronic waste (E-waste)

Electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream and poses a threat to the environment when thrown in the landfill. In this workshop, participants learn what e-waste is, what is in e-waste and why we need to recover the precious resources it contains and dispose of the rest safely.

The Oil Game

We depend on oil for transport, energy and manufacturing goods, especially plastics. The oil game is an inspiring workshop that engages participants’ intellects and creative energy to explore our dependency on oil and which actions they can take today to create a sustainable future, where resources are precious and nothing is wasted.

Consumerism (yrs 5–13)

Consumerism is a modern-day phenomenon that fuels the excessive production of waste. After watching the movie Story of Stuff, participants learn to analyse their needs versus desires, the psychology of advertising, marketing, and shopping, and the effects of over-consumption on the planet’s finite resources.

Smart Shopping (years 3-13)

The future of the planet is in your shopping basket! Participants learn what to look for and what to avoid while out shopping.


Workshop Face to Face Delivery Time Guide Price
Waste audit & syndicate presentations (schools) costs vary according to size of organisation/school4 hrs $120-$240
Zero Waste Lunches workshop40 min$65
Compost workshop45 min$65
Wormfarm workshop45 min$65
Bokashi workshop35 min$50
Which composting system will meet our needs?1 h 30 min$100
The Oil Game (3 workshops)4 h 30 min$200
Smart Shopping45 min$65
Consumerism1 hour 30 min$75
Plastics in the Ocean45 min$65
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Reduce comes first!45 min$65

The above prices are exclusive of GST & discounted for delivery to community organisations and schools.

For more information contact Sarah Langi, Schools Facilitator, on 03 545 9176 or email her.

Useful Links for Schools

For a comprehensive list of other websites offering sustainable advice to schools, click here.


Here are some resources to help you on your way. They are available as .pdf downloads or you can contact Sarah Langi, Schools Facilitator on 03 545 9176 or email her for copies.

Resources for Download

Towards a Waste-Wise School

A guide for Principals, Boards of Trustees members and teachers on embedding waste minimisation in schools

Waste Not – A Waste Education Kit for Schools

This kit is curriculum linked, giving activities and background information to  assist teachers to educate their students in all aspects of waste reduction

Be Resource Smart – Wise up on Waste

Designed for primary and intermediate schools, this resource aims to help young people take personal responsibility for their consumer choices and explore alternatives to sending rubbish to landfill

Buy Use Toss

A great resource for secondary students that fits with the social studies and science curriculum


Fact Sheets

Recycling bin suppliers – a guide to suppliers of recycling bins and accessories

Waste free lunches – reduce packaging and save money at lunch time

Zero-waste events – how to make your school’s events waste free

Healthy zero waste lunches – ideas for creating easy and healthy zero waste lunches


Fabulous Compost

Wonderful Worm Farms

EM Bokashi

Canteen Guide

Exploring Waste (English) – what’s in our rubbish?

Exploring Waste (Te Reo) – He aha ngā para kai roto I a tātau whakakāinga