Recycling grants help smaller schools with funding

Issued: 18 Mar 2021

The tiny school of Mount Morgan Central often misses out on funding applications due to the small student population of fewer than 200 kids.

“We’re a small school and as a result we don’t always get grants that seem to go to the bigger schools, but we got this one and it’s been so very helpful,” Mount Morgan Central State School P&C Secretary Kirrily Swain said.

The P&C received funding of more than $8000 to help the school’s recycling efforts by laying a concrete slab and building an enclosed recycling shed.

“We now have a secure area – it used to be a carport that we’ve been able to enclose with lattice mesh, install a gate and with the slab, create a lockable area where we can keep all of our recycling bags and everything associated with our recycle program,” Ms Swain said.

“We’ve bought additional bags so we now have a six-bag system with a bag for poppers, one for plastics and one for cans and when we take three full bags to the recycle centre, we have three here already set up to continue recycling while the other three are at the recycle point,” she said.

The tiny community raised around $1800 this year through recycling containers, although Ms Swain said the figure will likely be higher next year.

“Obviously with the kids learning from home for part of the year, we’re hopeful that next year we’ll be able to raise even more money.

“This is a lower socio-economic area and fundraising is extremely challenging,” she said. “We could put on a fete, have the entire town attend and only come away with abut $500 in profit. It’s very hard,” she said.

“This is almost a passive income stream and it’s going to be vital to funding activities for the school and for the benefit of the students,” she said.

The school participates in interschool sports activities every Friday.

“Hiring the buses costs us $600 - $800 every week – that’s a huge sum of money for the school to come up with,” she said.

“The recycling income that we will be able to create because of this grant will be hugely helpful,” she said.

The DES infrastructure grants to help container donation points such as this have been made possible due to the success of Containers for Change.

Queenslanders have recycled more than 3 billion containers since the program began and now community groups are seizing the opportunity to create new donation points and a sustainable source of income, thanks to grants from the Department of Environment and Science.

Minister for the Environment and Great Barrier Reef Meaghan Scanlon said the grants were vital tools that helped small groups to establish a source of income that empowered them to continue the work that directly benefits their local community.

“There are so many positives here – it’s more than win-win; it’s win-win-win,” Ms Scanlon said.

“Firstly, our recycling message is being amplified as local community groups encourage their community to recycle, to support their income stream. This also has the direct benefit of reducing litter in local waterways and reducing containers in landfill.

“Secondly, local businesses benefit when the grant is disbursed.

“Thirdly, the good works of the community organisations can continue. In these challenging times, fundraising is becoming more and more difficult. These grants provide vital incomes that allow small community groups to continue to help those in need,” Ms Scanlon said.

Almost $1 million in small-scale infrastructure grants of up to $10,000 each has been given to over 100 charities and community groups for the purpose of buying equipment that would support the creation of donation points.

The State Government’s Containers for Change scheme is operated by not-for-profit organisation Container Exchange (COEX) and CEO Ken Noye said he was delighted to see even more community groups maximise their involvement with the scheme.

“We know that community groups have really struggled this year as many of their regular sources of fundraising were put on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions,” Mr Noye said.