Planet Ark Project - Answering Kid's Questions
Author: Emily Donnelly
We get lots of requests and emails from school students across Australia, who want to know more about Planet Ark for a project or just because they are passionate about the environment. So we’ve pulled together some of the most common questions and provided answers.
What inspired the founders to start Planet Ark? Planet Ark was founded to help individuals and businesses to take positive environmental action in their own lives. A key element for the founders was creating actions that people could do themselves. At the time most environment groups were doing really important work protecting natural areas like the Great Barrier Reef and forests, but our campaigns are different as they are about what individuals do in their own lives, like planting trees or recycling.
Which Planet Ark campaigns have been the most successful and most popular? It’s really hard to say which of our campaigns has been the most successful as they all have different outcomes and audiences. They have all been successful in their own way.
- The ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark’ program diverts around 3 million cartridges from landfill and in to recycling each year. As of September 2015, more than 29 million cartridges have been recycled.
- Our National Tree Day Campaign is by far the biggest campaign in terms of public engagement. Hundreds of thousands of people get involved each year and more than 23 million trees have been planted.
- Every year our recycling websites - RecyclingNearYou and BusinessRecycling - help millions of people find recycling options for everything. From milk and juice cartons to computers and mobile phones!
- National Recycling Week allows us to educate individuals, businesses and workplaces about the bet ways to recycle.
- And our Make it Wood and Make It Recycled programs are great opportunities to encourage people to use responsibly sourced wood as a building material and recycled paper for printing. Both materials have positive environmental outcomes.
What makes your campaigns successful? All our campaigns are about people doing positive and practical things in their lives, which means that we really need people to get involved to make our campaigns successful. We receive great support from local councils, schools (like yours!), businesses and communities. We do our best to make our campaigns easy to participate in and beneficial to those who engage in them. We have found that many people feel good about doing the right thing once they know how.
What initiatives do you have that target schools? Our biggest campaign in schools is Schools Tree Day. Around 3,000 preschools, kindies, primary and high schools across Australia take part each year to plant trees and learn how to grow and look after them. We also actively work with Cool Australia, which has developed national curriculum-based lesson plans and resources that can be used in classrooms all around Australia. In addition to this, we also run the Schools Recycling Right Challenge throughout National Recycling Week each year, which supports recycling education in schools. Finally, there are thousands of schools around the country that collect ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark’. We believe that educating kids about recycling can have an impact on the entire household!
How is Planet Ark funded? Planet Ark is a small charity and most of our funding comes though the sponsorship of specific campaigns. National Tree Day, for example, has been sponsored for more than 15 years by Toyota. As well as providing the funding so we can run the campaign, Toyota dealers also help local communities get involved. Cartridge manufacturers such as Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, Konica Minolta, Oce, and Kyocera pay for the ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark’ campaign. These manufacturers cover the cost of collecting and recycling the cartridges they produce. We also receive some funding from partners, government and even through donations.
Do you pay your workers or are they volunteers? We have a team of 20 people who work for Planet Ark. These are the people who are committed to creating fun campaigns that make it easy for you to take simple, powerful and positive environmental actions. You can read about the Planet Ark employees here: http://planetark.org/about/our-people.cfm
Where does Planet Ark operate? Planet Ark is an Australian organisation. Since our campaigns are about people taking actions, it’s important for us to understand the local conditions and systems that make that action possible. We encourage people to plant Australian native trees for National Tree Day and to follow the rules for recycling in their local council area because each council area is different and can have different rules and conditions.
Get Your School Involved
We’d love your (or your kid’s) school to get involved in one or more of our campaigns.
- The Schools Recycle Right Challenge, which is part of National Recycling Week, kicks off in October.
- National Tree Day is at the end of July each year - watch the video below and get involved next year.
For more information on our campaigns visit http://planetark.org/.