LITTLE GARDENERS: Maddison Turner, Savannah Holland, Brayden Holland, and Rutland Turner. Photo: Taabinga State School
LITTLE GARDENERS: Maddison Turner, Savannah Holland, Brayden Holland, and Rutland Turner. Photo: Taabinga State School

Small school recycles big with community support

STUDENTS at Taabinga State School are growing their own fruit and vegetables in their new community garden set made with recycled oral care waste.

The school came second place in a nationwide recycling competition by collecting over 10,000 toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and dental floss containers and shipping them to TerraCycle.

Competing against 1200 schools across the country, the small school was able to collect more waste and votes than many larger, urban schools.

Taabinga State School teacher Stephanie Tognola said they were able to do so well because of community spirit.

“We were competing against schools three times bigger than us and soon realised we couldn’t win this without asking our community for support,” she said.

“As a small school of only 360 students, coming second in a national recycling challenge really demonstrates the power of collective action and community spirit.

“It’s been a powerful adventure for our school.”

Miss Tognola said the students are delighted with their new community garden and are growing vegetables and fruit to help support our schools’ tuckshop.

“We’re teaching students how to grow their own produce and how to incorporate it into healthy snacks and meals,” she said.

Sponsored by Colgate and Chemist Warehouse, the Colgate Community Garden Challenge awarded five schools with a recycled garden set comprised of three garden beds, two custom-made benches, three customised garden plaques made from recycled oral care waste, and a $500 Bunnings Warehouse voucher to buy plants and seeds.

Throughout the competition, close to 200,000 pieces of oral care waste were shipped to TerraCycle to be remoulded into new products such as garden beds, park benches, and even playgrounds.

Colgate Vice President and General Manager of South Pacific, Julie Dillon, and Chemist Warehouse Group General Manager, Ilias Babalis have expressed their excitement for the winning schools.

“The success of the 2019 Colgate Community Garden Challenge is due to the commitment of the kids who participated. Colgate is delighted to see this hard work has paid off with the kids having received their gardening prizes.”

“Chemist Warehouse would like to congratulate the students at Taabinga State School on their amazing efforts in recycling oral care waste in 2019 and winning a garden set for their school. “We are thrilled to have partnered with Colgate and TerraCycle on this exciting challenge which diverted close to 200,000 pieces of oral care waste from landfill, while encouraging and engaging students in the practice of recycling and sustainability.”

The Colgate Community Garden Challenge, as part of the broader Oral Care Recycling Program, has now diverted one million pieces of oral care waste from landfill through the hard work of over 6000 collection teams from all over Australia.