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Waste management at OSC- Recycling and sustainability

Recycling and Sustainably is a service group at the Overseas School of Colombo (OSC) which is a leading environment action group who aims to reduce the ecological footprint through recycling resources and rising awareness. To take a step further in raising awareness, I have been helping our service leader Devin for his CAS project which is related to recycling. Our goal is to provide the best solution to garbage bins in OSC to help separating the plastic, food, paper, and other garbage. In order to understand why students aren’t separating waste properly in school when there are separate bins, I helped Devin take oral surveys from students in which we questioned about why and what enables them not to separate waste properly and if they have any solutions. I helped in setting up labels on bins, and checking in if people are separating waste properly after the labels given. Through this activity my aim was to demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance.

A 4rth bin might be needed. Taken by author

Devin and I have been in Recycling and Sustainability for the past 2 years and I have learned a lot about waste in Sri Lanka. Besides supporting Devin’s CAS project on waste management, I learned the efficiency of our paper, food, and plastic bin at the Overseas School of Colombo. Through the survey I took orally with  10th and some 11th graders and Devin taking some more surveys, we both have realized that the main reason for the bins not being efficiency is the lack of correct labels on bins, confusion of what material goes into which bin, and the time it takes for waste separation. By which I helped Devin to add labels on the bins so people know which bin is meant for what material. When I was surveying, most students said there are some materials which they aren’t sure of if it’s plastic or paper, and one solution they have provided is to have a 4rth bin which will be for ‘others’. I also think this is needed in our school because it doesn’t allow materials to get mixed. So in order to buy new bins, I thought if I could design a service T-shirt and sell them in school and all the revenues we make will be used for buying new bins as the 4rth bin of OSC. This idea can be expressed in my previous post, click here.

Adding labels to bins. Photo credits: Devin

Some students also commented that it takes time to separate waste from like food stuck on paper, wet plastic, etc. so at those times they usually don’t’ separate waste properly and I think the solution of the 4rth ‘others’ bin will resolve this as it will allow students to not mix wastes together and it will not waste their time as now there will be a separate bin for that. However the 4rth bin is not yet here but the process of earning enough funds is in process as my designed T-shirts will be printed and soon the selling will start.

In order to check if adding names on bins had an effect on the waste management at OSC, I usually checked the bins every 2 days to see if there are any results. Devin stated that there have been slight changes as students are being more efficient now however I think the result is not enough and in the long run students will most likely ignore the names and be inefficient with their waste management. I think having a 4rth bin will strongly create an impact in increasing the efficiency.

Checkup for any results after applying labels on bins. Photo credits: Devin

For more on waste managements at Overseas School of Colombo, click here.

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