How to reduce waste at your school

Reducing waste in schools is a significant step towards fostering a culture of sustainability and teaching students valuable lessons about responsible consumption. Schools can implement various waste reduction strategies to minimize their environmental impact.

Encouraging the use of reusable water bottles, lunch containers, and utensils can significantly reduce single-use plastic waste. Implementing comprehensive recycling programs and educating students about proper waste segregation further diverts recyclable materials from landfills.

Schools can also promote paperless initiatives by utilizing digital platforms for assignments and communication, reducing paper consumption.

Fostering a culture of composting and organic waste management allows schools to turn food scraps and yard waste into valuable soil amendments. By integrating waste reduction practices into their daily operations and curriculum, schools become influential agents of change, empowering students to become environmentally conscious citizens and future leaders.

District councils can work with Taranaki schools to help them minimise their own waste, as well as educating pupils about waste minimisation and recycling.

Did you know most schools in the Taranaki region receive recycling bins and collection of recyclables for free?

District councils may be able to offer advice or assistance in setting up a recycling system, improving your current system or any other area of waste minimisation you may need. Contact your district council for more information.

New Plymouth District Council: Sustainability Education Officer - email or call 06 759 6060

South Taranaki District Council: Environment and Sustainability Team -

Stratford District Council: Email 

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MRF.jpg View from the purpose-built education room at the Materials Recovery Facility.

Class tours of recycling centre

Taranaki's Recycling Sorting Centre (Material Recovery Facility or MRF) has a purpose-built education room which is perfectly positioned to watch our region's recycling being sorted.

Come along and learn how the machinery works, watch the recycling sorters work on the conveyor belt, find out why we can recycle some items but not others and where the recycled materials end up. School parties from across Taranaki are welcome. Bookings essential.

PLEASE NOTE: the Recycling Centre's education room is located upstairs and is not accessible for wheelchairs. 

Your class will need to allow one hour for the Recycling Centre Education Session. School classes at all levels are welcome. There is no charge, but schools must organise their own transport.

Click here for tour bookings and further information

View our A-Z Zero Waste Directory

Find local options for donating, recycling and disposing your items safely and correctly.

Stratford Transfer Station

Tours are available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Friday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. The tour is free and takes 30 minutes. It is available to primary and secondary schools.

Contact: Mike Oien Stratford District Council
Ph 06 765 6099

Egmont Refuse and Recycling Ltd

Raymond Buckland at Egmont Refuse and Recycling. Tours are free and take an hour. They are available to primary and secondary schools.

Contact: Raymond Buckland
Egmont Refuse and Recycling Ltd 19 Scott St, Hawera
Ph 06 278 6170

Hawera Transfer Station

Tours are free and take 20 minutes. They are available to primary and secondary schools.

South Taranaki District Council
Ph 06 278 0555

Recycling bins for classrooms

Paper4trees is a free waste minimisation and tree-planting programme for schools and early childhood centres. It provides classroom recycling bins to help with source separation, and rewards participants with native trees. For full details, visit

Hope Lawsen or Satsuki Takenouchi (Programme Team) Environmental Education for Resource Sustainability Trust (EERST)
Ph 0800 727 4873


With support from the school community, students plan, design, and take action to create a sustainable school environment. Zero Waste is one of the five Enviroschools theme areas.

Under Zero Waste, Enviroschools Taranaki runs Boomerang Bag and Plastic Free July initiatives. See the Facebook pages to learn more and get involved:

Boomerang Bags for Taranaki Enviroschools on Facebook

Plastic Free July Taranaki on Facebook

For more information visit the Enviroschools website:

Lauree Jones
Regional Enviroschools Coordinator
Ph 0800 736 222




Composting and worm farming

Learn how to set up a worm farm or compost system, or learn how to make your existing system more efficient. See how composting and worm farming is done at the Taranaki Regional Council gardens.

The session takes 30 minutes and is free. Available to early childhood centres and primary, intermediate and secondary schools. Contact:

Emily Roberts
Education Officer
Taranaki Regional Council
Ph 0800 736 222