Sustainability at Salesian College

During 2017 the Biretta classes worked on projects focussed on protecting the environment. The Year 7 class in particular explored the production, use, disposal and impact of single-use water bottles, raising the question, ‘Why do we need plastic water bottles in our Canteen?’ Based on our research, it is evident that we need to ban the bottle.

The Year 7 boys wrote a proposal to Rob Brennan which lead to a Leadership Team discussion. It was decided that the College would support the boys’ learning and cease selling single-use plastic bottles from the Canteen. In their place, boys will be able to purchase a multi-use drink bottle for $2 (the same price as the single use bottles). Special taps have been installed at the tap troughs to ensure boys can refill these bottles.

Their proposal outlined that ‘Plastic bottles have many issues, one of the most serious of these is the harm that they cause the environment. According to, “17 million barrels of oil are used to make plastic bottles each year. The amount of oil used to make plastic bottles could fuel a million cars for a whole year.” Ban the bottle also contends that “$1 billion worth of plastic is wasted each year”. This means that all the resources used to make the plastic bottles such as oil are being wasted. Furthermore, these bottles are killing thousands of animals like turtles and birds, who choke on it or die from the toxicity. 91% of bottles do not get recycled and many go into streams, then end up in the oceans and kill our animals and fish. If we as humans continue in pursuing our destructive ways, by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish. This is appalling and as responsible stewards we need to take steps to reduce plastic production and consumption. Stopping the pointless sale of plastic water bottles at our Canteen is a good place to start and hopefully others sectors in the community will follow.

The work of the boys inspired a group of staff to also begin considering ways that Salesian College can be a more environmentally friendly school. Staff, too will no longer be provided with single-use water bottles at school events, instead, we have been provided with a multi-use bottle. Teachers are also doing away with regular non-recyclable whiteboard markers, which create toxic fumes when incinerated and end up in landfill. These are being replaced with refillable recyclable ones.

Staff rooms on both the Bosco and Mannix campus have also been fitted out with bins for general recycling, soft plastics and compost. This is in addition to the Visy paper recycling.

We are looking forward to the boys continuing to be motivated by their learning and inspiring each other and the staff to make Salesian College a more environmentally friendly school.

Mrs Nadia Knight

Assistant Principal – Faith and Mission