School children to learn how to cut out damaging plastic from Plasticwise Wodonga

WAR ON WASTE: The team at YMCA Wodonga have been encouraging clients and each other to only have reusable cups and bottles.
WAR ON WASTE: The team at YMCA Wodonga have been encouraging clients and each other to only have reusable cups and bottles.

An anti-plastic group is turning its focus to school children in an effort to reduce the amount of waste generated in Wodonga.

Plasticwise Wodonga received a $4800 grant from the council earlier this year, which it will use to conduct “plastic awareness sessions” with 1000 children from seven different schools next month.

The group began earlier this year with three mothers and a teacher, who decided to focus their efforts on reducing the amount of plastic waste in school yards and children’s lunchboxes.

Member Elizabeth Malone said kids’ snacks were often wrapped in unnecessary plastic packaging.

“It’s so hard to manage, when you think about that for every child,” she said.

“Just even being conscious about it is a great start then when you go to the shops you start thinking about buying things that aren’t wrapped in plastic.”

Parents who are pressed for time when getting ready in the mornings are encouraged to take small steps to cut back plastic use where they can.

The program will inform students about plastic pollution, its impact on the environment and health, and emphasise the importance of using less disposable plastic to prevent litter.

Schools involved include Wodonga Primary, Melrose Primary, Wodonga West, St Augustine’s, St Monica’s, St Francis of Assisi and Catholic College.

“Worldwide reliance on disposable plastic is overwhelming our planet,” Ms Malone said.

“Plastic spoils our groundwater, it threatens wildlife, it piles up in the environment, it poisons our food chain, it affects human health and it never goes away.

“Plasticwise Wodonga is excited about joining the growing coalition of community groups, environmental agencies, businesses and individuals committed to raising awareness and effecting change.”

Wodonga YMCA has also been working with Plasticwise Wodonga on its own “war on waste”, starting its focus on sustainability by reducing the number of disposable coffee cups and drink bottles used by staff and clients.

Area manager Ryan McNamara said he had started to see a difference in recycling and wanted to expand the program in the future.

“It’s about trying to be a leader in this area,” he said.

The group will also present a free screening of award-winning documentary A Plastic Ocean, made by Australian journalist Craig Leeson and narrated by Sir David Attenborough, on Friday at 6.30pm at The Cube.

Drinks will be available at the bar from 6pm and Anthony Hill from Plastic Pollution Solutions will hold a question answer session after the film.