Students at Bega High School have stepped up to fill a gap in the local ‘war on waste’ and are hoping to turn their efforts into veggies to sell at the local farmers market.
“For the second year in a row, we have entered the Colgate Community Garden Challenge,” says teacher Verity Keen.
“What that means is that we collect used oral hygiene products – old toothbrushes, empty toothpaste tubes, empty dental floss cases – anything to do with looking after your mouth, and it doesn’t have to be a Colgate product.”
Verity and her students have a number of collection boxes dotted around Bega for locals to drop products into for recycling.
“We send all that off and get a certain amount of points based on the weight of our parcel,” Verity says.
“The heavier it weighs the more points we get.”
The end goal is enough points to secure a recycled plastic outdoor setting for the school veggie garden, part of plans to expand the space so that students can grow enough produce to sell at the Friday SCPA-South East Producers Farmers Market in Littleton Gardens.
This is the second year the school has taken part. Last year Verity and her students collected 6kg of dental products for recycling through Terracycle, who recycle the “non-recyclable.”
Environmental education is another part of the opportunity, a message not lost on the enthusiastic students.
“This stuff gets in rivers, creeks and ends up in the sea, and the animals eat them – and they can die,” Hayley says.
Caitlin adds, “In Australia, we use 30 million toothbrushes each year and 3.5 billion around the world.”
Aside from dropping your old toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes into one of their collection bins, locals can also vote for Bega High School. Each vote counts as one extra point toward the garden setting.
Voting and collection closes on September 30.
Collection boxes can be found at Red Cafe, Bega Library foyer, Bega High School office, and the Friday Farmers Market, head to the TerraCycle website to cast your vote.