The Education Secretary has urged all schools to eliminate their use of single-use plastics by 2022.
Damian Hinds has called on senior leaders in schools to stop using items such as plastic bags, straws, bottles and food packaging in favour of sustainable alternatives, and has invited them to start a conversation with pupils about the effects discarded plastics have on the environment and wildlife.
Hinds encouraged schools across the country to follow the lead of Georgeham Primary School in Devon which is the first school in the UK to achieve single-use plastic free status.
“The leadership shown by schools like Georgeham Primary in going single-use plastic free is an impressive example for us all – and I want work to support every school in the country following their lead by 2022,” he said.
“It’s not always easy but we all have a role to play in driving out avoidable plastic waste, and with more schools joining others and leading by example, we can help to leave our planet in a better state than we found it.”
Georgeham Primary was awarded the accolade by Surfers against Sewage, a marine conservation charity, who recognised that the school had met five crucial targets including an initial plastic audit of the school and removing at least 3 items of single-use plastic items throughout the school. The key changes that enabled the school to go plastic free was by getting rid of plastic from the school’s supply chain and replacing single-use plastic with plastic that can be easily recycled.
One of the most common uses of single use plastic are the straws and packaging from the cartons of milk provided to reception pupils in schools. After agreeing a deal with their suppliers, Georgeham School now have their milk delivered in recyclable containers and the children drink out of washable beakers.
A YouGov survey commissioned by BRITA UK and Keep Britain Tidy in April 2018 found that young people are more committed than other generations to mitigating the effects of single-use plastic, with 68% of 18 to 24 year olds currently owning a reusable water bottle, above the national average of 55%.
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