Guardian Flinders Street Works with Cbus Property and CBRE in Anti-Landfill Initiative

new waste disposal system set up in childcare classroom as part of anti-landfill initiative

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Over the past several months, Guardian Childcare & Education Flinders Street has been working closely with Cbus Property and CBRE to create an anti-landfill initiative for the Centre.

Centre Manager, Talia, shares details of the partnership and how sustainability is at the forefront of the Centre’s practices.

“As a Service, we understand the need for both practical and educational actions that work in the best interests of our planet,” says Talia.

“Our natural environment, and local community, benefit from the development and implementation of these sorts of sustainability programs, which is why we took a step back in 2019 and looked at how we could improve our sustainability practices across the Centre.”

“We have a responsibility to offer experiences and embed practices that involve children directly in the sustainability process. A process that instills positive environmental values, a sense of community, and the idea that the children can be a part of something bigger than themselves.”

recycling station at centre to avoid sending cardboard to landfill

As a relatively new tenant of the building, Talia and the Flinders Street team met with Cbus Property and CBRE and discovered a shared vision in terms of their environmental and sustainability goals.

“We were impressed by their existing framework for responsible waste management and their focus on recycling and gladly jumped on board as good tenants to be a part of things,” shares Talia.

Childcare centres are big consumers of resources such as food, water, cardboard and hygiene products, so we were excited to implement waste separation practices that could ensure such resources were being distributed correctly.”

One of the major changes made at the Centre was the addition of colour-coded waste bins. Every room in the Centre is now equipped with three bins, decorated with signage made by the children that indicates what type of waste can go in them.

children's forte made out of recycled cardboard boxes that were saved from landfill

“The children designed signage to match our new bins, yellow for recyclable items, green for food items and other organics, and blue for general waste,” explains Talia.

“Used nappies go into their own separate bag and are transported by us to a larger ground floor waste area in the building, where we also take cardboard items no longer being used by the Centre.”

“The colour-coded bins were introduced in an intentional teaching session to the children, with their use and meaning carefully explained, along with the importance of our efforts and why we should be working together as a group to help out.”

“When it became apparent that the children needed a more thorough grasp of what constituted things like paper, plastic and organic waste in order to understand our system thoroughly, we worked together to create visual poster guides mounted behind the bins with pictures or real examples attached.”

upcycling station of reusable items

Talia and the team endeavour to upcycle and creatively reuse items like cardboard as much as possible, and maintain sustainability at the forefront of the curriculum.

“When Educators regularly discuss and model positive environmental attitudes and behaviours, and where possible, share positive interactions and connections with the natural environment, environmental values are instilled in children,” says Talia.

“We discuss topics like separating waste after meals, reusing cardboard and paper products, being mindful of our water use, and how we can contribute to sustaining life systems on the planet we inhabit. In short, we are mainstreaming education on the environment and practices that sustain it.”

child using hand dryer at childcare centre

The waste program and ongoing sustainability practices have received strong support from families, who are excited to see how interested and invested their children are in the environment.

“Like any long term projects, there is still a need for ongoing reflection and fine tuning to ensure the programs are functioning effectively, but on the whole we believe that we are promoting an ongoing sense of understanding, responsibility, respect and participation,” shares Talia.

“Our next big initiative is our Sustainability Champions program, which will see small groups of children, accompanied by an Educator, making regular visits to other floors within our building to collect and sort waste products like paper and coffee cups.”

“As with the original waste initiatives, this has been developed in conjunction with the generous support of Cbus Property & CBRE and should be kicking off in the near future.”

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