WHEN SK Puchong Utama 2 pupils are done with recess at 10.15am, leftovers such as banana peels go into a designated bin while the milk boxes go into another.
The school, located in Taman Puchong Utama, has been active in composting leftovers and food scraps under Subang Jaya Municipal Council’s (MPSJ) composting programme.
The compost is used as fertiliser for the school’s garden, where various herbs and vegetables are grown.
Under the Sekolah Sejahtera MPSJ Award Programme, the municipality also collects the food waste for its biomass centre in Bukit Puchong.
The school’s project coordinator Farah A. Rahman is excited “as it will help the environment”.
Farah, who has been a teacher for 28 years, said MPSJ’s green move to reduce waste at landfills was on the right track.
“Children pick up the habit of sorting out food leftovers in school and communicate this message to their parents at home.
“Parents tell us that the children want to practise the same thing at home.
“As a teacher who loves the environment and growing herbs, I believe Sekolah Sejahtera will bring about a new generation that cares for the environment,” she said.
Nur Dahiyah Kirana Mohd Nazri, 10, said it was good that the food scraps she dumped in the designated bin would be sent to the biomass centre to be made into plant fertiliser instead of rotting in the landfill.
Her friend Divyasri Viknesvaran Krishansamy, also 10, said: “We are happy because we are saving our planet and there will be less amount of methane gas, which thins the ozone layer, released into the atmosphere.”
Their schoolmate Sabryna Chen Ying En said she became more conscious of how much food she put on her plate in order not to waste it.
All three girls are part of the school’s Eco Team and are serious about their task to ensure fellow pupils sort waste into the correct bins.
Nur Dahiyah, Divyasri and Sabryna, all in Year Four, said they became more aware of global warming, waste separation as well as the importance of reducing waste that could emit methane gas.
“Our teacher Farah taught us that organic waste restores the nutrients in the depleted soil.
“We are happy MPSJ will provide us with plant fertiliser for our school garden.
“We understand that the compost will create nitrogen and carbon, thus creating a nutrient-rich soil in which we can grow the herbs,” said the three friends.
Among the herbs grown in SK Puchong Utama 2’s garden patch are basil, oregano, rosemary and pegaga (Indian pennywort).
School headmaster Awaludin Nawi said the Sekolah Sejahtera programme helped to close the loop in the food cycle where the pupils learn about composting.
“We want the children to have fun with some outdoor activity through gardening.
“Our pupils are not only learning to make an environmental impact, they are actually practising it and as a result, are able to enjoy the harvest of the herbs in the school garden,” he said.
Selangor Education Department Student Affairs Unit senior supervisor (Health) Zulkifli Ahmad said the Sekolah Sejahtera programme taught children to be stewards for environmental responsibility.
“We live in such a throwaway world and the education department supports this initiative to get the next generation to be environment conscious,” he said.
MPSJ public relations senior assistant director Asfarizal Abdul Rashid said the Sekolah Sejahtera programme had an element of competition where participating schools stand to win cash prizes.
Judging and evaluation of the programme will be done in January next year.
Under the primary school category, the winner will get RM1,500, while the second and third placing will receive RM1,000 and RM800 respectively.
For secondary schools, the top three schools will receive cash prizes of RM2,000, RM1,500, and RM1,000.
No food goes to waste at these schools