Sustainability at Chatham

Chatham Primary School is continually working to improve its environmental credentials and has now become a leading school in environmental sustainability.

Sustainable School Program

Chatham was selected as one of just 60 schools in Victoria to join a program known as “Resource Smart Schools” or “AuSSI”. Through this program our school undertakes regular professional education and receives support and guidance in making our school and community more environmentally sustainable.

The program is coordinated by CERES. Chatham’s CERES coordinator, Kirsty Costa, works with the school teachers and parents through a series of Professional Learning Workshops.


Energy tracking system

As part of this program, Chatham uses SETS to track its energy and water usage and waste produced. This will establish Chatham’s environmental footprint. The school commenced the collection of baseline data at the beginning of 2009 and has made significant reductions across all above-mentioned areas.

Waste and water management


Some of the strategies that Chatham has initiated include:

•   Rubbish Free Lunch days, where students are encouraged to bring

     “nude food” (with minimal or no packaging). Each week awards are given

     to the class with least rubbish.

•   Recycling of paper and other recyclable materials.

•   Composting of food scraps for the vegetable garden. 

•   Energy saving monitors in each class to encourage responsible energy use.

•   Water Monitors place buckets under the drinking taps to collect overflow, then use the water on the garden.

Sustainability and Environment Committee

The Chatham School Council has established a Sustainability and Environment Committee that is made up of enthusiastic teachers and parents. The Committee ensures the school follows the Resource Smart Schools program, and has achieved a great deal in the last three years. 


The Committee has created a Sustainability Policy, a Green Procurement Policy and an Environmental Sustainability Master Plan. The Committee keeps the school community informed of all actions taken.


Solar power and water conservation

Chatham Primary School received two government grants in 2009. These enabled the school to install twelve solar panels to reduce our reliance on non-renewable energy sources, and to install several water tanks. Two tanks have been connected to the children’s toilets for flushing, another supplies the vegie garden and another was installed underground to collect storm water and supplies the oval.


Indigenous plantings

Over the last three years the school has focused on indigenous plants and has created thriving, beautiful and ever-expanding gardens. Grasses, shrubs and trees that are local to the Boroondara region have been planted with great success. These plants are already adapted to the local conditions, so they don’t require extra water or nutrients and thus are a sensible choice for a school.

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