Students picture new vision for sustainable waste future

06 Nov 2022

City of Newcastle has uncovered the next generation of sustainability champions as part of a school art competition designed to promote resource recovery.

Sofia Puerto, 11, and Betsy Smith, 13 impressed the judges with their colourful entries and thoughtful explanations of the artworks, which will now adorn two waste collection trucks and around 70 public bins across the city.

As the primary and secondary school winners of the competition, the girls will receive an iPad Mini and Apple Pencil each for their creative efforts, while Our Lady of Victories, Shortland was selected as the winner of the Go Circular workshop, which will help teachers learn how to become more sustainable in a school setting.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said with National Recycling Week kicking off tomorrow, there is no better time to encourage conversations around the need to repair, recycle and reuse resources.

"Reducing the amount of waste going to landfill and creating a net zero emissions city will take collective action from all members of the community, young and old, so it's wonderful to have students like Sofia, Betsy and everyone who entered our Close the Loop art competition putting so much thought and effort into such an important topic," Cr Nelmes said.

"To decrease our impact on the planet, and get more value from limited resources, we need to shift to a circular economy where we return, reuse, repair and recycle to create minimal waste, save water and energy and keep those materials circulating for even longer.

"This school-based art competition was a fantastic way to engage the next generation in these important conversations while also encouraging broader community-wide feedback on Our Sustainable Waste Strategy, which sets out City of Newcastle's vision for resource recovery in Newcastle for the next 20 years.

"I'd encourage all members of the community to have their say on Our Sustainable Waste Strategy, which is open for comment via the City of Newcastle website until 5pm on 9 November."

Close the Loop art competition winners

Primary School category winner

Sofia Puerto, 11, Year 5 New Lambton Public School

Artwork statement: My artwork is about protecting the environment and features some of my favourite places in Newcastle - it is about recycling what we can, reusing, making and planting seeds to a better future.

High School category winner

Betsy Smith, 13, Year 8 Hunter School of Performing Arts

Artwork statement: I have tried to tell a story of a little kid who has found all these cool materials and has created this castle, or should I say Newcastle.

School Go Circular workshop winner (Circular Economy Masterclass)

Our Lady of Victories, Shortland