Building a vision for the Zero Waste Center
Our Zero Waste Centre – one of our 9 environmental outdoor classrooms – has since its opening in September 2021, become a bit of a “dumping ground” for waste than the center for recycling and reuse of materials we envisaged. Under the guidance of our Service and Sustainable Development Department, and in conjunction with the School of X (Design Thinking School of the government of Singapore), 30 of our parents, students and staff decided to investigate this challenge and come up with some viable possible ways forward. Some big questions were asked: should we focus on turning the tap off or on recycling? what is possible in the context of Singapore and with the resources we have as a school? what is our vision for the Zero Waste Center? These were the big questions the groups of parents, students and staff focused on for more than 30 hours!
First the group needed to understand the context of waste management in Singapore – where does waste go, how is it dealt with, what are the challenges of waste in a small city state? How are we currently contributing to the issues Singapore is facing? Second, the group had to start learning about design thinking and the way design thinking uses user research to understand stakeholders needs, behaviors and preferences. Participants interviewed a large number of stakeholders (students, parents, teachers) at school, Their hopes and visions for a more effective centre were also sought. Finally, the teams worked through possible solutions, that were workshopped with other workshop participants or with other students or teachers.. Some solutions presented involved changes to behaviours, some involved technology, some involved raising awareness in classrooms and in the community. All were worth exploring to help us think more deeply about our behaviours around waste, and move to concrete actions. These solutions were presented to the college leadership to get their support.
The implementation of some of the solutions identified will be the focus of the academic year 2023/2024.