By Colin MacGillivray
THE Whittlesea township has embraced the power of recycling to help make a difference to the lives of people with disabilities.
Students and families from Whittlesea Primary School, St Mary’s Parish Primary School and Diamond Valley Special Developmental School have begun collecting bread tags in support of charity Aussie Bread Tags for Wheelchairs.
The bread tags are donated to the charity through a national collection network, which sells the tags onto South Australian recycler Transmutation.
The proceeds from Transmutation are then used to fund wheelchairs for disabled people in South Africa.
The Whittlesea community became involved with the program after Whittlesea Primary School volunteer Annette Carle stumbled across the initiative.
“I think I got the idea from when [the kids] were doing remote learning and someone was using bread tags as counters,” she said.
“I wondered if people recycled bread tags, and I found the Bread Tags for Wheelchairs initiative.
“We’ve got an environmental subcommittee at Whittlesea Primary School, so we thought it would be a good community initiative to get everybody involved and stop all these things going to landfill.”
The idea quickly gained momentum, with other schools and the wider township backing the campaign.
“There’s a drop box at the community centre. It’s the schools in the Whittlesea township, some of the cafes have them down the street, and then we have a small bin for them at the IGA as well,” she said.
“I’ve got a box outside and the kids wrote letters and we just delivered them to everybody in our estate, so we often find a random bag in there with bread tags. It’s great that the neighbours are getting on board as well.
“It’s a real community effort. I think it needs to be, because it’s a pretty significant number of bread tags that are needed to fund a wheelchair.”
Whittlesea’s Deli Café owner David Cordell said he was happy to back an initiative that promoted recycling and supported people in need at the same time.
“We like to do anything we can around recycling and trying to help the community,” he said.
“We give our coffee grind after it’s been used to a gentleman who picks it up and puts it on his garden. The community garden up the street also uses it – they get a big bucket and put it on the garden. It’s all about recycling.
“We recycle our paper, and I’ve got a friend who picks up all our leftover food and bread and takes it for her goat. Nothing goes to waste.
“It’s better than having it go into landfill. It’s all about looking after the environment and looking after each other.”
Ms Carle said the biggest supporters of the effort were the town’s children.
“All the students are loving it, and even some of the kids who have different activities during the day have been sorting them into colours,” she said.
“We just had a lot come in from St Mary’s Primary School – 3.4 kilos that they’ve collected for us.
“It’s raising awareness. It’s something so small and insignificant that can easily be thrown out, but it instead becomes part of a school initiative that kids get excited about.”