Waste education

Waste Education Program:

Cairns Regional Council's Waste Education Program provides a number of different services to help Cairns schools and community groups reduce, reuse their waste and recycle right. These include presentations for students, teachers and community groups, free Waste & Resource Recovery facility tours (via the Rediscovery Centre) and free school recycling services.

Schools & Early Learning Centres can play an important role in rethinking what we do with our waste by encouraging children to become instruments of change at kindy, school, at home and when they are out in the community.

Our Waste Education Officer engages with the community through a range of events, programs and partnerships to influence positive waste and recycling behaviours.

Free programs and services are provided to schools to better educate our younger generation in waste and recycling, which seeks to encourage them to make sustainable choices well into the future.

Waste Education School Resources (provided free of cost for Cairns Regional Schools):

  • 240 Litre wheelie bin recycling service
  • Waste & resource recovery tours of Council facilities
  • Waste & resource recovery presentations (in-school)
  • Waste education resources

Further information about school recycling services:

Council offers free recycling service to all schools within the Cairns region.The allocation of recycling bins is been based on the number of students per school, serviced during the school terms. If your school does not have recycling, please contact  Customer Service on 1300 69 22 47 or email the waste services team: wasteservices@cairns.qld.gov.au

Waste Education Tours

Have you ever wondered what happens to waste and recycling in Cairns?

Cairns Regional Council also offers schools and community groups guided tours of its Waste & Resource Recovery facilities including the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), Advanced Resource Recovery Facility (ARRF) and the CRC Buy Back Shop. Along the way, participants will get a behind the scenes look at each step of the recycling sorting process, from the receival of recyclables into the MRF, right through to the baling of products ready to be transported to market. Our facilities boast a dedicated education room called the “Rediscovery Centre” which offers an air-conditioned, safe, birds-eye view of the MRF processing plant as well as high quality cameras located inside the machinery allowing visitors to see up-close how everything works.

School waste and resource recovery presentation. School Waste and Resource Recovery Tour.

Waste Education Presentations

Unable to visit our facilities? Council's Waste Education Officer can also visit your School, Early Learning Centre or community group event to present an age/year level appropriate presentation covering what happens to waste in the region.  The interactive, engaging presentations covers the Cairns 'Waste Story', how we can all reduce, reuse and recycle better and provide answers to those difficult to answer waste and recycling questions.

Community Waste & Resource Recovery Presentation. Early Learning Centre Waste and Resource Recovery Presentation.

To book a free tour or presentation please send a completed waste education booking request ( PDF, 2.1 MB ) to wasteservices@cairns.qld.gov.au. For further information please contact Customer Service on 1300 69 22 47.

Education Resources

To add value to your school's Waste Education program, check out our Resources below including our Waste Activity Sheets in the 'For Download' section:


  • Our Region's waste / recycling story, a 5 minute educational video for schools and community members on what happens to waste & recycling once collected in the Cairns region. You can also download Council's 'Where does it all go' flyer for a summary of this video.
  • Recycling your waste around the house, how and why to reduce waste in your wheelie bins.
  • Reuse to reduce waste, re-using things is great way to reduce our waste. See how and why to reuse your items instead of throwing them away.

External Content:

  • Planet Ark has multiple education resources for teachers and students available
  • ABC Television's War on Waste program website has 25 education resources to assist students with Reducing, Reusing and Recycling their waste better
  • Cool Australia has a series of curriculum aligned lesson plans and resources for educators on waste reduction and greater sustainability
  • The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard has original and sequel videos to get you thinking about the real cost of consumerism. Fast-paced and engaging for primary age upwards.
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a man-made phenomenon, largely made up discarded plastics. We recommend viewing for ages six and up due to its stark visual impact, and that the video clip be supported by discussions with students about what they can do to make a positive environmental difference


Our educational services aim to reinforce Council's philosophy that 'there's no place like our place - let's keep it that way'.

Last updated: 18 January 2021