Setting up a Waste Smart Kindy

  • Introduction
  • 1Setting up a waste smart kindy
  • 2 Waste audit
  • 3 Develop plan
  • 4 Implement plan
  • 5 Resources

Brisbane City Council is committed to keeping Brisbane clean and green by reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill and increasing resource recovery.

Setting up a Waste Smart Kindy is an opportunity for educators to learn more about waste minimisation, recycling and composting. Reducing waste is easy and benefits our environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving non-renewable resource for future generations.

In many ways, early childhood provides one of the most valuable opportunities to introduce children to waste concepts. Children who are enthusiastic about reducing their rubbish can become powerful advocates for sustainable behaviour as they get older. We often hear from parents that their children have come home from kindy and taught the whole family about the right bin for their rubbish!

Council is proud to support early childhood educators in their professional development through this free online course. Empowering our children with waste knowledge is not simply about creating a more sustainable society for today, it is an investment in every generation to come.

Learning outcomes for Unit one: Setting up a Waste Smart Kindy

  • Understand how much waste is currently being produced and how much of this waste can be reduced and/or recovered through recycling or other initiatives.
  • Learn how to conduct visual and solid waste audits and develop and implement a Waste Smart Kindy action plan.  

Before you start Unit one: Setting up a Waste Smart Kindy

  • This unit includes conducting a waste audit of your centres bins and may take up to 60 minutes to complete. You will need to complete this unit on site the day prior to your bins collection day to ensure you can conduct the audit correctly.   
  • Once you start the unit, you cannot save your changes and return to it later. Please allow enough time to complete the whole unit. 
  • Keep a notebook to record your notes as you go through the unit to avoid printing. 
Setting up a Waste Smart Kindy
Your details


Waste audit

The first step to reducing waste at your centre is to conduct an audit. Collecting information about your centre’s current waste procedures will help you to identify the amount and types of waste sent to landfill, and highlight potential opportunities for minimising waste.

A waste audit is a process designed to analyse the amount and types of waste generated by your centre. It provides the baseline data against which all waste minimisation progress can be measured in the future.

There are two different types of waste audits that provide valuable information for minimising waste - a visual waste audit and a solid waste audit.

Complete the two audits below and click ‘Next ’to view your results.

Visual waste audit

A visual waste audit involves a visual inspection of waste and recycling bins to determine how full they are when they are put out for collection. This will allow you to determine how much waste is generated over the course of a 40 week year.

To complete the visual waste audit:

  • inspect each of the bins before they are emptied by the garbage truck
  • estimate how full each bin is at time of emptying
  • complete the table below.
Visual waste audit for general waste, recyclables and green waste bins
Solid waste audit

A solid waste audit involves an examination of the contents of at least one general waste bin to:

  • estimate what percentage of the waste in the bin could be recycled
  • what percentage is fruit and vegetable waste that could be composted
  • what percentage is general waste that will end up going to landfill

It does not matter if you examine a number of rubbish bins from the rooms within your centre, or alternatively one of the general waste bins that are picked up and emptied by the garbage truck. Whichever you choose, the total at the end must equal 100%.

Your waste audit results

Visual waste audit

Your centre throws out litres of waste each year, % of this waste is recycled. Your current waste profile is illustrated below.

Litres of waste generated per school year (40 weeks)

Solid waste audit

Results from the solid waste audit show that % of what is currently going in your general waste bins could be recycled and an additional % is organic waste that could be composted. In total, % of waste currently going to landfill could be recovered through recycling and composting.

Developing a Waste Smart Kindy action plan

The information that you have collected will assist you to create a waste management action plan and prioritise key issues.

Click on each of the following focus areas to develop your action plan.

When it comes to reducing waste, keep in mind the waste hierarchy, a simple but powerful strategy which helps us to prioritise our actions.

Avoiding and reducing the amount of waste you produce is the best way to minimise your rubbish and valuable resources can be saved from landfill through reuse and recycling.

The following are ideas to help you develop a tailored action plan for your centre. Your Waste Smart Kindy action plan will be automatically sent to your email address when you complete your list and click 'Next'.

Create your Waste Smart Kindy action plan
Packaging and purchasing
Reducing waste
Organic recycling
Making your plan work

Once you have finished planning your Waste Smart Kindy, it is time to put your ideas into practice.

Below are some tips to help you implement your Waste Smart Kindy action plan.

Waste smart tips for your early learning centre

  • Start small and concentrate on implementing one new initiative at a time.
  • Involvement
    Involve everybody in your early childhood community in the process of reducing waste. Talk with children, cleaners, parents and staff, encouraging them to provide input and support the new initiatives. Access free registration to amazing resources through the Get Grubby program. These resources aim to teach children the wriggly joys of worms, the magical process of composting and how they can make a difference. This program is exclusively for educators. See our Get Grubby and other resources about waste and recycling page to sign up.
  • Communication
    Put information about your new initiatives in your newsletter and website, talk to parents and discuss new initiatives at staff meetings. Make sure that everyone in your early childhood community knows that you are seeking to incorporate sustainability into daily routines and practices as well as into learning. Put up clear signage around the centre to assist people to follow procedures such recycling or composting.
  • Events
    Showcase your efforts at events and try to run them as waste-free as possible. For example, avoid plastic cups and cutlery and provide prizes that are sustainable.
  • Education and support
    Brisbane City Council is able to help your centre to reduce waste. Once 75% of educators have completed the professional development course and your centre has made efforts to implement your waste management action plan, we can assist you on your way to becoming recognised as a Waste Smart Kindy.

These free resources are available to download to help support you to set up a Waste Smart Kindy.

These resources are relevant to the unit you have now completed. Make sure you download the resources you would like to keep before selecting 'Submit'.