Sustainability in schools

Schools in the Inner West area have access to a variety of programs and offerings to help them setup and maintain a sustainable school life.

School summit news

Climate Justice Workshops

We have partnered with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) to offer free Climate Justice Workshops for high schools in 2019.

Solar my School

Inner West Schools can now take part in Solar my School, a free Council initiative helping primary and secondary schools to go solar. The program supports schools to access the financial, environmental and educational benefits of clean, locally produced renewable energy.

I want to know more about Solar my School

Inner West Sustainable Schools Network (IWSSN)

The IWSSN is a forum for school sustainability leaders to connect, share skills and learning resources, and find opportunities for growing sustainability projects and supporting the Sustainability cross-curriculum priority.

The network meets once a term and is open to principals, teachers, P&Cs, and educators from all schools in the Inner West Council area. Department of Education teachers can also access one hour Professional Learning accreditation for attending a network meeting.

Learn more and find out how to join the network.

In-school climate justice workshops

Council partnered with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) to host the Western Sydney Climate Justice Summit on 25-26 July, 2019. Over 200 high school students from across Western Sydney attended the two-day Summit to learn about climate science, climate impacts and how they can lead the transition to renewable energy in their school and community.

Building on the Summit, Inner West schools can access a free AYCC in-school climate justice workshop covering climate change, climate justice and how students can lead action on sustainability in their school.

This is a great opportunity for students to gain leadership and change-making skills, and meet other like-minded young people to take action on sustainability.

A typical 40-60 minute in-school climate justice workshop consists of:

  • A brief overview of climate science, solutions, and climate justice
  • An overview of AYCC and our theory of change (with young people at the heart)
  • An overview of what young people can do to take action on climate justice

Register: Best suited to students in years 9 and above. Free for Inner West high schools. Register for a workshop here

Please find more information about the Climate Justice Workshops in the poster attached (PDF 500.5KB).

The Western Sydney Climate Justice Summit and in-school climate justice workshops are presented by The Australian Youth Climate Coalition in partnership with Inner West Council and City of Canterbury Bankstown.

Native tree and plant giveaway: Schools tree day 

Council supports local schools to participate in National Schools Tree Day, Australia's biggest tree planting and nature-care event on Friday 26 July 2019.

Advanced native trees giveaway

Council is offering local schools up to 10 advanced local native trees for planting.

  • Council staff can provide advice and guidance about site selection, preparation, planting and maintenance
  • The trees will be available for pick up from Council’s St Peters depot.
  • Contact the Urban Forest team with your planting project. Email 
  • Deadline: 28 June 2019

Understory planting giveaway

Council’s  Community Nurseries at Marrickville and Rozelle Bay  can provide free native plants to local schools. These smaller plants which include grasses, shrubs vines and other groundcovers are ideal for planting under large trees to help mulch and protect them and create habitat for other native species.

  • We can provide up to 50 local native tubestock plants per school (limited species available)
  • Our Urban Ecology team can assist your school with species selection based on site conditions and available stock.
  • Contact Karen Maxwell, Community Nurseries Supervisor to request plants. 
    Phone 0412 435 948 or email    
  • Deadline: 21 June 2019

Environment grants

Council’s environment grants support groups that benefit the environment and community through projects focused on:

  • Environmental improvement
  • Sustainability education
  • Awareness-raising and the promotion of sustainable living as a way of life.

School Parents and Citizens' Associations (P&Cs) are eligible to apply for projects that are demonstrably accessible and beneficial to the broader Inner West community (i.e. beyond the school community).

Environment Grants of up to $7,500 are available annually and are open from 3 to 30 June 2019.

Find out more information and read the grant guidelines

Free mulch

Free mulch is sometimes available from Council’s Marrickville Community Nursery at Addison Road Centre. Call ahead on 0412 435 948.

Curriculum support and resources

Planet Ark has partnered with Cool Australia and dirtgirlworld to provide free lesson plans and learning resources for early learning, primary and secondary schools. Teachers have access to lesson plans, digital worksheets, digital toolboxes, Smartboard lessons and a host of other resources.

Recycling at schools

Council is responsible for residential waste and recycling collections which are funded from the domestic waste charge in annual Council rates. Council cannot provide services to non-residential properties such as schools unless it was on a user pays basis. Inner West Council does not currently offer recycling for schools.

Public schools have access to the NSW Government Waste Management contract.

Non-Government schools have to organise a private contractor.

GreenWay Primary Schools Sustainability Program

There are 22 primary schools and six secondary schools and colleges located along the GreenWay corridor and catchment. As a local model of urban sustainability, the GreenWay is an excellent learning resource and outdoor classroom for students of all ages.

The GreenWay Primary Schools Sustainability Program offers Inner West primary school students the opportunity to explore their local urban environment and learn about sustainability in a fun and interactive way through a series of in-class and outdoors activities. The Program offers a choice of five GreenWay Local History and Environment Walks and provides Stage 2 teachers with a workbook of 15 cross-curriculum activities. Find out more about the program.

Sustainable Schools NSW

Sustainable Schools NSW is a curriculum focused resource hub for environmental education. Sustainable schools aims to connect environmental educators with relevant resources, interactive lessons and a like-minded community. Sustainable Schools supports the Sustainability cross-curriculum priority for the NSW Syllabus and Australian curriculum is managed by the Australian Association of Environmental Education NSW.

For more information, please visit the Sustainable Schools NSW website.

Native plants

Council’s Community Nurseries at Marrickville and Rozelle Bay can provide native plants to schools. Council’s Urban Ecology team can assist your school with species selection based on site conditions and available stock.

Email or phone the nurseries supervisor on 0412 435 948 with your planting project.

Stencil Your School

Inner West Council's Stencil Your Street program connects urban residents with their waterways – the Cooks River in the south and Parramatta River to the north. Everything we do in our streets has an impact on our waterways. By stencilling drains, everyone will know that whatever goes down the drain ends up in our rivers. The drains are just for rain!For more information, email

Environmental and zoo education centres

Environmental and zoo education centres are NSW public schools that support schools by providing:

  • resources to help integrate environmental education
  • professional learning opportunities for teachers
  • assistance in implementing more sustainable practices
  • opportunities for student learning and environmental leadership
  • excursion programs for visiting school groups, linked to NSW syllabuses
  • incursion programs for schools, linked to syllabuses and classroom learning

Environmental and zoo education centres are located across NSW. Find a centre near your school.

Composting/worm farm systems

Compost bins and worm farms are available for purchase from local hardware and nursery stores and from online suppliers. There are also a number of low cost larger scale compost bin designs (usually made with recycled materials) available on the internet that may suit your school. Council subsidies for composting products from Compost Revolution are available to residents only. Schools are able to order directly from Compost Revolution online.

Return and Earn

Return and Earn is a NSW State Government scheme. Anyone who returns an eligible drink container to an approved return point will receive a 10 cent refund. You can find out ways your school can participate in Return and Earn here. If you have any questions or queries related to your school’s involvement in Return and Earn, please contact

Waste Education and Audits

Schools can check with their existing waste provider to see what education support they can offer.

Involve the whole school in a waste audit to discover where your waste comes from and how much waste your school is generating.

Download the Guide to conducting a school waste audit.

Other Resources

These are just a few helpful websites and documents:

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Page last updated: 18 Nov 2019