Buran Nalgarra

Strength and Learning Through Togetherness
Kindlehill Senior School

Katoomba Street Sends Plastic Packing – A Problem that Matters

April 17, 2024

“…Innocence still stuck in our minds
Still reading picture books
Plucked from old bookshelves,
We are kids that dream
We are kids that imagine
We are the kids to create our own future”


In March 2023, Kindlehill launched the pilot for our Senior High School program, Buran Nalgarra – Strength and Learning Through Togetherness. Our year 10 cohort was joined by 6 students from the home-school community and, over two-terms, we ran our first Problems That Matter project. This approach centres learning around a real-world problem and seeks to draw on our local funds of knowledge and build community partnerships.

Our goal was to devise a project that disrupted rampant single-use plastic consumption through ‘everyday essentials.’ With dairy-milk packaging in our sights, we set out to explore ways to replace plastic with reusable glass but very quickly came up against a science-shaped obstacle: glass was not the solution we were hoping for. But in our research for other possibilities, we came across The Juggler, a bulk-milk delivery system for cafés which reduces plastic packaging by 80%. Designed and manufactured in Sydney by local outfit, Six Simple Machines, this innovative machine certainly ticked the boxes for commercial plastic waste reduction. What if we were able to encourage all the cafés in Katoomba St to make the switch at the same time?

Armed with an exciting idea, we hit the streets, surveying cafés about their plastic use and willingness to change. Most businesses were keen to reduce their plastic waste but were unable to afford a bulk-milk system. So, we got on the phone to Six Simple Machines and our first community partnership was born. Six Simple Machines is providing the machines at a reduced price, and we have launched a campaign to subsidise the cost of the machines to the cafés: Katoomba Street Sends Plastic Packing!

In term 3, we visited NSW Parliament, and the students pitched the project to Penny Sharp, NSW Minister for the Environment, and our local member and Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change, Energy, the Environment, and Heritage, Trish Doyle. They were thrilled to see students spearheading such a positive and impactful campaign and pointed us in the direction of the NSW Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to discuss funding possibilities.

The EPA has confirmed our eligibility for the Bin Trim rebate program, which will subsidise up to 50% of our budget. Bendigo Bank has recently sponsored the project to the tune of $5,000 and we are in discussions with other local businesses about additional sponsorships. It’s a big undertaking but well worth the effort. At their current rate of plastic consumption, 9 cafés stand to save 36.9 TONNES of plastic waste over 5 years. That’s 70 cubic metres of compressed plastic on one main street!

This campaign is a win-win for everyone – it’s a great news story that will receive widespread attention both locally and more broadly, promoting Katoomba St cafés, bulk-milk systems, and the power of community to encourage businesses to reduce plastic waste. It is a highly replicable idea and hopefully the beginning of something big!

Georgia, Ayla, Ben, Rose, and Gabby with Penny Sharpe, NSW Minister for the Environment (centre) and Trish Doyle, Member for the Blue Mountains (right)

Georgia, Ayla, Ben, Rose, and Gabby with Penny Sharpe, NSW Minister for the Environment (centre) and Trish Doyle, Member for the Blue Mountains (right)

Georgia Adamson

Georgia Adamson

Senior School, Problems that Matter
Kindlehill School