Newcastle school students rise up to the challenge and put sustainability on the agenda

More than 200 school students across six primary schools in Newcastle, NSW have participated in a School Sustainability Challenge, demonstrating their commitment to producing less waste and being more resourceful.

Veolia Australia and New Zealand partnered with Newcastle Jets Football Club to deliver the pilot program to each school, teaching the grade four, five and six students about sustainability principles and practices through practical and real-life demonstrations.

Each class was invited to participate in a month-long ‘challenge’ to reduce their water, waste and energy consumption by developing a practical plan and testing their ideas, with the most innovative idea awarded a $5,000 grant from Veolia and an exclusive Newcastle Jets experience. The submissions were judged by the Newcastle Jets CEO, Lawrie McKinna, Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Nuatali Nelmes and Veolia Australia and New Zealand’s CEO, Doug Dean.

Newcastle Jets CEO Lawrie McKinna said, “It’s great to be a part of Veolia’s School Sustainability Challenge. The kids got to meet some of their football idols, as well as learn how to conserve water, electricity and recycle products more effectively.”

Antony Schillaci, National Sales, Marketing & Communications Manager from Veolia Australia and New Zealand said environmental education was a key role Veolia played in the communities in which it operates.

“We focus very much on educating a broad spectrum of the community - from our clients and customers, to schools and councils. By engaging directly with external stakeholders we work with them to develop the correct approaches to resource management,” Mr Schillaci added.  

The winning submission from Waratah Public School, titled ‘Mulch Madness’ demonstrated a holistic approach to sustainability through education and action.

Waratah Public School teacher Monica Macura, said the class had shown commitment and leadership to putting sustainability front and centre.

“The students have been excited to learn about real life issues and the prospect of making a change”, continued Ms Macura.

“We have built a small garden and created mulch from newspaper, reinstated the school worm farm, and set up a recycling station called Book Bugs - a program for preventing books going to landfill.”

The Challenge has allowed students to gain a deeper understanding of environmental education.



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Emily Agostino
Veolia ANZ
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About Veolia Australia and New Zealand:
Veolia Australia and New Zealand (Veolia) is the region’s only environmental solutions organisation with specific capabilities across water and wastewater treatment, energy management, waste and resource recovery services, and industrial cleaning and facilities maintenance services. Veolia employs over 4000 employees and operates across more than 240 locations within the region.

About Veolia Global:
Veolia group is the global leader in optimized resource management. With nearly 169 000 employees worldwide, the Group designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions which contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries. Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and to replenish them.

In 2017, the Veolia group supplied 96 million people with drinking water and 62 million people with wastewater service, produced nearly 55 million megawatt hours of energy and converted 47 million metric tons of waste into new materials and energy. Veolia Environnement (listed on Paris Euronext: VIE) recorded consolidated revenue of €25.12 billion in 2017.