Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Our Daily Waste - Dr Sharon McIver

Last term, as EnviroGroup leaders, Mackenzie and I organised to have Dr Sharon McIver talk to our school in assembly. To give you a brief idea of who she is, here is an excerpt from the introduction I did for her: Dr McIver has recently started her very own recycling and waste management consultancy called “Our Daily Waste”. She was inspired to take such an amazing step after working at the University of Canterbury as a Waste Reduction Educator. Dr McIver is passionate about the environment, and now I am delighted that she is here to share with us her inspiration and experiences.

Dr Sharon McIver started off with the story of how she spent seven years researching rubbish left behind at outdoor dance parties and what she found out from auditing rubbish and recycling bins.

Then she went on to explain just how confusing our recycling systems are. Apparently, coffee cups are not recyclable (any more), potato plates can only be composted at home (not commercially) and those little triangles on the bottom of plastics (e.g. ) don’t necessarily mean that the plastic is recyclable, they’re just there to show what kind of plastic it is. Also, the things that you can recycle depends on where you live and what facilities your recycling plant has.

Dr McIver shared about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch which is a floating 'soup' of plastic rubbish twice the size of Australia and it can be seen from space.

From http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2008/05/is-there-a-natu.html

This shocked many of us. Below is a video from YouTube to explain it to you further. 

On top of that, Dr McIver stressed the point that litter is a big problem, and to choose products with the least amount of packaging. She recommended to us the store: Bin Inn, which encourages the reuse of containers when it comes to food shopping. (Click on the link to learn more.) She also encourages people to purchase second hand as this is one of the best ways to reduce. 

Did you know that:
  • Recyclable coffee cups can no longer be recycled because they are often 'contaminated' with bits of food or rubbish that people have put into them.
  •  Many things that appear to be green really aren't and this is a form of advertising called 'greenwashing'.
  • Often people's recycling bins are 'contaminated' with things that are not recyclable and so the whole bin ends up going to the landfill.
  • Polystyrene will break into little bits but will never decompose. 
  • Disposable nappies take 500 years to decompose
  • Aluminum cans can take over 200 years to decompose

Overall, I think that Dr Sharon McIver is an inspirational role model for the girls at our school and that we all learnt heaps from listening to her talk.

Please visit her webiste http://ourdailywaste.co.nz/ to find out more. 

by Sarah Be

Remember you have a choice as to what you do, but please don't ignore the impact the choices you make have on the world around you.


  1. Hi my name is Icis and my class room 5 at Melville intermediate are doing a MineCraft activity involving your class; we are going to build a replica of your class room, but first im going to ask you some questions?

    q1.What is the area and perimetre of your classroom?

    q2.How many desks do you have and what are the positions?

    q3.Where is the whiteboard and teachers area placed?

    q4.How many windows are the4re in you class room?

    q5.Where are the computers placed? (if any)?

    q6.What is the colour of your carpet and walls?

    q7.What is the colour of the outside of the building?

    q8.Is there any other big objects in the class such as carboards? if there are what is the positions?

    1. Hi Icis,

      Here are the answers to your questions

      1. perimeter is 34m and area is 72m2
      2. 16 desks in four groups of four pushed against the wall. We also have two big tables in the middle and a small coffee table on the mat.
      3. the white board is at the front of our classroom and the teachers area is opposite the white board at the back of the room by the mat.
      4.17 windows
      5. We have our own laptops
      6.Our carpet and walls are blue
      7.The colour is white
      8.We have a projector positioned above the mat next to the teachers area

      From Emily and Lilli

    2. hi again, i have one more question for you.

      what is the shape of your class,and what is the length and hieght of each wall im metres?

  2. hi my name is nichola and i am from melville intermediate school room 5.i am working on a minecraft thing and i would like to include your classroom. i would like to ask you some questions so i could desighn your class?
    Q1.how many people in your classroom?
    Q2.what is the area and the perimetre?
    Q3.where are the deskes positioned?
    Q4.where is the white board?
    Q5.how many doors do you have?(and where)
    Q6.where is the teachers desk?
    Q7.do you have photos on your wall?
    Q8.what is the colour of your class room?
    Q9.what is the colour of your carpet?
    Q10.how many computers do you have?
    Q11.do you have windows?(and how many)


    1. Hello Nichola these are the the answer's to your questions.

      1. 16
      2. The perimeter 34m and the area is 210
      3. We have four, groups of four and one big table in the middle for collaborative work. We have a coffee table just beside the mat
      4. The white board is on the eastern side of the room
      5. We have 2 doors 1 on the eastern side and 1 on the south side
      6. The teachers desk is on the west side
      7. Yes
      8. blue floor and blue walls
      9. Bue
      10. We have 1 computer each and the teacher has one
      11. yes and 17 windows

  3. Hi my name is Kayla and i go to Mellvile Intermediant school room five and i am doing a activity with mine craft and i was wondering if i cold do you class

    Q1: what kind of big things do you have in your class?
    Q2:how high is your class room?
    Q3:what is the desk posstons?
    Q4:how many kids do you have in your class room?
    Q5:what is the Area and perimterof your class?
    Q6:how many desk do you have in your class ?

    1. 1. Bookshelf, projector, 2 couches
      2. 3 metres average (high in the middle)
      3. Groups of four, two groups on each side
      4. 16
      5. Area: 72 metres squared Perimeter: 34 metres
      6. 16 individual desks, centre table, teacher desk

  4. Mehara from Tawa Intermediate20 August 2013 at 12:13

    Wow! I guess that there are so many things we don't understand. It's great that you all are learning more about saving our planet. Now I should probably check my recycling!

    Bye :)

    1. It made me think a lot more also about my recycling.

  5. Thanks so much but i still have some Qustions to ask you

    but where is every thing placed like the teachers desk is it in the east, nort ,west

    thanks kayla melville intermdaint

  6. hi my name is kayla and i have got so more Questions to ask you
    Q1:how many doors do you have in the class
    Q2:where is your 2 couches placed
    Q3;where is your porjector placed
    Q4:where is the bookshelf placed
    Q5:what is that bigest thing in your class

  7. Makes me think twice of the rubbish we go through in my house. Love to see more companies reducing the amount of packaging they use.

  8. Nice blog and absolutely outstanding. You can do something much better but i still say this perfect.Keep trying for the best.


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