Environmental sustainability in our schools

Join schools from around the state in improving the environmental sustainability of your school and taking steps to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Tuesday, 24 October 2023 at 10:00 pm
A birds eye shot of a group of students drawing sustainability images on a large brown sheet of paper.

The department has developed a new policy to help schools reduce their environmental impact, as climate change continues to present challenges for students, staff and services.

The Environmental Sustainability in Schools policy provides guidance on how to mitigate the impacts of climate change. It includes resources and guidance for teaching environmental sustainability and engaging with school communities, and a planning template for a whole-school approach to environmental sustainability. 

The policy covers:

  • best practices for sustainability that schools can choose to implement 
  • the ban on single-use plastics and balloon releases. These are existing legislative requirements that all schools should have implemented already. 

Schools have already been making positive changes to improve environmental sustainability in classrooms, buildings and their communities. Check out the case study below to see the amazing things already happening and how the policy can support your school.

Environmental sustainability

The policy helps schools to plan, implement and monitor actions across 6 priority areas:

  • school leadership 
  • facilities and operations
  • teaching and learning
  • community partnerships
  • Koorie perspectives
  • student-led action.

The actions outlined in the priority areas, resources and planning template provide schools with guidance and ideas on how impacts of climate change can be mitigated. They are not mandatory. 

Supports to implement the policy 

To make it as easy and effective as possible for schools that wish to implement it, the policy includes:

  • an instructional video 
  • case studies from other government schools 
  • resources, grants and initiatives from Sustainability Victoria and other government and community organisations 
  • an Environmental Sustainability Plan Template to support a whole-school approach.

The policy can be implemented on its own or concurrently with Sustainability Victoria’s ResourceSmart Schools program

Environmental sustainability in schools case study

As an example of what schools can do, this video explores how Albert Park College has successfully embedded environmental sustainability into its strategic plan.

Albert Park College is committed to becoming a regenerative, carbon negative, resource smart, zero waste school and to sharing what they’ve learned with other schools. Environmental sustainability is a core value of the school and it has undertaken a range of initiatives to enhance the sustainability of its facilities and operations. 

This work has been significantly supported by the school’s involvement in the ResourceSmart Schools program.

Teachers are encouraged to read the new policy to ensure they are following legislative requirements for releasing balloons and using single-use plastics. 

Balloon releases

Releasing balloons into the environment is illegal in Victoria. Schools must ensure balloons taken outdoors are well secured while in use and deflated and disposed of appropriately when the activity is completed. 

For more information, refer to Balloon releases and the law.

Ban on single-use plastics

The single-use plastics ban was introduced in Victoria in February 2023 to help reduce plastic waste and contamination at recycling facilities. 

Find out more

For more information, refer to:

For further enquiries, contact the School Operations and Governance unit by email: community.stakeholders@education.vic.gov.au