Kingaroy Taabinga State School students enlisted the help of the broader community to recycle more than 10,000 items to win a recycled community garden set.
Kingaroy Taabinga State School students enlisted the help of the broader community to recycle more than 10,000 items to win a recycled community garden set.

South Burnett students turn waste into a win

STUDENTS at Taabinga State School in Kingaroy have been preparing to grow their own vegetables using a community garden set made from recycled oral care waste.

The school came second in a nationwide recycling competition that diverted close to 200,000 toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, and dental floss containers from landfill.

Taabinga contributed more than 10,000 pieces of oral care waste during the challenge.

Their prize included one of five community garden sets comprised of three garden beds, two custom-made benches and three customised garden plaques made from recycled oral care waste, and a $500 Bunnings Warehouse voucher to buy seeds and plants

The prize is worth a total of $33,677.15.

Run through a partnership between Colgate, Chemist Warehouse and global recycling pioneer TerraCycle, the Colgate Community Garden Challenge invited schools in Australia to register, collect and ship all their oral care waste to TerraCycle.

TerraCycle then turned the recycled oral care products into new products.

Besides showing how recycled materials can be used as a sustainable alternative to virgin plastic, Colgate, Chemist Warehouse, and TerraCycle hope the community garden sets will promote gardening and healthy eating among the winning schools.

Taabinga State School’s Stephanie Tognola said coming second in the challenge was only possible thanks to the entire community getting on board.

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

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

Miss Tognola said the recycled garden set would be used to start growing items to support the school tuckshop and form a kitchen garden.

“We will be able to teach students about how to grow items and then how to use these in everyday living,” she said.

“From here, we are going to keep recycling and keep raising awareness about the importance of recycling in our community.”

Throughout the competition, more than 70,000 votes were cast online for the participating schools.