Churchlands Primary School is an independent public school located in Perth’s socio- economically advantaged suburb of Floreat, catering for approximately 500 students from kindergarten to Year 6.
The school has a strong environment and sustainability program led by teacher Sheree Samsa, with 35 Year 5 environmental officers actively caring for and managing the vegetable garden, frog garden, chickens, composting, worms, recycling, waste as well as building environmental and sustainability awareness within the school community.  

“Our overall goal of the program is to reduce our carbon footprint on the environment. The children are taught that ways to do that is to not throw anything, if we can, into landfill.” 
At the start of February 2021, Sheree incorporated Containers for Change into its environment program, which not only served to educate students about reducing lunch time waste and waste sent to landfill, but also helped develop their social conscious and personal values by donating funds from containers to worthwhile causes. 
Churchlands Primary School kickstarted its containers campaign at the start of the 2021 school year, announcing it at school assemblies, newsletters, its social media and communications platforms. It partnered with the City of Stirling as its local refund point, which provided two 660 litre bins and a collection service. Using the school’s Container for Change member number, the City of Stirling collection service sorts and counts the containers and puts the funds directly into the school’s account. 

To make the container disposal as accessible as it can be for students, the school placed Containers for Change signage on several smaller 50 litre bins outside classrooms. These are checked each day after lunch by the Year 5 environment officers, who then empty them into the larger bins. 
The school typically sees a much higher volume of containers on the three days that the canteen is open, however Sheree said it was important to keep the scheme at the forefront of everyone’s mind. One of the ways it achieved this was with a two-week competition between all the classes, which saw which a significant increase in container volume.  Students brought containers in from home to raise $530.70, with the winning class receiving bird feeders that they built during class. 
Since it joined Containers for Change, funds from students’ containers has helped pay for the school’s frog habitat garden, its Eco Shed upgrade as well as the purchase of Solar Buddy lights for children in third world countries and remote communities who don’t have access to electricity. The Solar Buddy program sells solar lights to schools and organisations, which are sent in kit form for students to put together.

These are then sent back to Solar Buddy, which in turn, sends them to children and families in need, allowing them to do their school work after dusk and reduce fuel based lighting. Last year, Churchlands Primary School raised more than $2000 from containers to purchase and build 58 Solar Buddies. 

The main challenge the school has faced with its container collection is contamination in the 660 litre bins with general and dog waste from the local community that utilises the school oval outside of school hours. 
Principal Kym Fraser said the Containers for Change is an important part of the school’s philosophy of giving back to the community and those in need. 
“We have a number of initiatives at the school and this is one where we can actually let the kids know that it’s not all about them. It’s about giving back and paying back to people who are less fortunate than what we are.”