Bega High School students campaign against non-recyclable coffee cups

Bega High School has declared war on takeaway coffee cups, taking to the streets on Friday, November 10 to speak out against their use.

About 20 students set up a stall in Littleton Gardens, stopping passers by and market goers to highlight the environmental impact of the commonly used containers. 

They surveyed the public to see how much they understood about takeaway coffee cups and visited cafes to discuss alternatives with customers. 

Year 8 student Lara Scrivens said the group decided to target takeaway coffee cups after seeing so many littered at their school. 

“It is amazing how many of them come through our school gates every morning,” she said. 

The group collected the coffee cups from their school grounds and piled of them on their stall table. 

Year 8 student Jude Butchers also caught attention in a body suit covered in coffee cups collected at Bega High. 

The campaign is part of the Go Make a difference (Go MAD) program, supported by Bournda Environmental Education Centre. 

It follows a waste audit of Bega High School by Bournda EEC, identifying problem areas in their system. As a result, Bega High has submitted a request to Bega Valley Shire Council to implement recycle bins at the school. 

HSIE teacher Alana Coates said it was a great success. 

“We’ve mainly got waste bins and paper recycling at the moment, so our next push is to start recycling plastics and really raise awareness about it within the school,” she said. 

“The council has been really responsive to the kid’s advocacy, helping them to reach goals and pushing them to go even further.”

Council said that while schools already have recycle bins, they may not have sufficient quantities of bins to capture all of the recycling generated in a week, which can result in contaminated waste streams. 

To combat this, schools can request extra funding for additional recycle bins from council via their website.

It is then the responsibility of the schools to ensure the success of the program, by nominating ‘waste warriors’ to ensure the students chose the ‘right bins’. 

Ms Coates said her students were up for the challenge and already owned their war on waste. 

“They’re proud of it, there is a real power in children with a message and they’ve generated such a good reaction so far,” she said.