Waste that goes on camp, doesn’t stay on camp

| By Nicky Gray, Enviroschools Otago

Aiming for zero waste in our Enviroschools and in our communities is part of looking after Papatūānuku (the Earth). Being on camp is an extension of our school and community so it makes sense to apply the knowledge and understanding and practices of sustainability for camp. This includes planning and preparation beforehand, sorting at camp and auditing with the view of improving Zero Waste strategies in future.

Shotover School visited Camp Glenorchy during their 3-day Year 5/6 Camp in 2023. The theme for the camp was “sustainability” with part of the focus on reducing waste. Before they went to camp, ākonga learnt about ways to reduce waste, the limitations of recycling and how our landfill functions. Their Enviroschools facilitator, Nicky, helped the students explore the concepts of waste as a modern human product, how current waste management creates problems and then got them thinking about designing for zero waste. This got ākonga thinking about how they could take the waste reduction ideas and practices they have at school into their camp environment. They decided that having beeswax wraps for packaging camp lunches would reduce waste, so set about making some.

Being clear about the basic hierarchy of waste management.

At camp they collected their food scraps into buckets, weighed it and took these to a pig farm. All the other waste was taken back to school for auditing. Students used the Enviroschools Zero Waste Theme Area activities to help them understand what the waste was made of and what categories they could use to sort the waste into. They had weighed/measured items from each category before it went to the pigs, recycling or landfill waste. This was recorded to provide a baseline from which to improve and so they can compare this with next year’s camp waste.

Ākonga then looked at the landfill waste and came up with ideas to reduce waste next time. Some ideas were to buy different brands that are packaged in cardboard or glass rather than plastic and to buy in bulk to reduce packaging. After this “post-camp” discussion, their Enviroschools facilitator, Nicky, helped them create a “Tips to Reduce Camp Waste” sheet to share with the whole school and other schools in their area.

Sorting cans, recyclable plastics, cardboard, glass and other items.

The audit results are helping to reduce waste for next camp and can be the baseline for measuring change.









Keeping good records as the audit progresses.

“Another part of the ‘community learning together’ is that Glenorchy Camp have provided tours and evening talks on their energy, water and waste systems for schools while they are on camp. Now they have a commercial compost system for the schools to learn about too. Queenstown School also camps at the same place so they can use ideas from Shotover to deepen their camp learning experience.” – Nicky Gray, Enviroschools Facilitator