Sustainability Victoria reminds educators that when it comes to decluttering, there’s no such place as “away”

by Freya Lucas

January 14

As many early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals undertake a “spring clean” of their rooms, ready for the new year, a new group of children, and to take advantage of lower numbers in centres whilst parents access annual leave for holidays, environmental concern Sustainability Victoria have issued a reminder that when it comes to disposing of unwanted resources or lost property, there is “no such place as away.”

 

Acting CEO, Stephanie Ziersch said decluttering and making spaces more efficient is “a positive thing” but highlighted the risk of items being discarded, instead of more “conscious” choices such as recycling or repurposing them.

 

“The sudden spike in tidying up, combined with Christmas excess, New Year’s resolutions for minimalism and the fact that many op shops are still closed for the holidays, risks creating the perfect storm for waste this month,” Ms Ziersch said.

 

“While we’re encouraged to hear (people) are busy clearing out the clutter, the question remains where are we sending all those items once we’re done with them? All that clutter doesn’t just disappear once you’ve given it a kiss and thanked it for its service.” she added, acknowledging the popularity of tidying and organising of late as an offshoot of a Netflix series, headed up by Marie Kondo.

 

The notion that, when it comes to the disposal of unwanted resources, rubbish, and discarded food scraps, there is “no such place as away” is linked closely with the National Quality Framework.

 

Speaking about Quality Area Three, ACECQA National Education Leader, Rhonda Livingstone, said “Living sustainably means living within the capacity of the natural environment to support life and ensuring our current lifestyle has minimal impact on generations to come. Sustainable practices relate not only to the natural environment, but also our society and culture, including aspects such as consumerism and community well-being.”

 

Ms Ziersch encouraged ECEC services to embrace a Japanese concept known as mottainai, which encourages reflection on waste and action when it comes to reducing, reusing, recycling and respecting.

 

“Australians should already be proud for being great recyclers, but we can all do even better, by using less, wasting less and recycling more,” Ms Ziersch said. “The state of the future is in our hands. It’s therefore never been more important for us all to minimise the waste we produce.”

 

Further guidance about sustainability in ECEC can be found here.

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