Plastic Free… and on TV…
BBC and newspapers over the Christmas period, and this morning a small crew from ITV West Country came to speak to us… (showing either tonight or tomorrow night at 6pm.)
Bob Cruwys and ITV cameraman, Roger, came and asked us what we’d done to become an accredited Single-Use Plastic Free School and why it was important. Our Class 4 School Councillors Eva and Fin (with the help of Tillie and Archie) spoke about some of the actions we’d done at school but that the plastic would otherwise end up in the environment and possibly on the beaches where it would harm or kill wildlife. They did an excellent job! They also spoke to Keri about some of the actions she’d taken in the kitchens. Keri’s done a brilliant job at cutting back, recycling and targeting suppliers, which is where a large bulk of the plastic comes in to the school.
Surfers Against Sewage’s Plastic Free Schools Programme has five criteria to meet, and we achieved this early last year. We may have been the first, but there are 20 other schools in the UK who also now hold this award and another 150 working towards it.
We had to do an audit and identify what single-use plastics were in the school and we learnt about why they were a problem – littering the beaches, destroying the environment and plastic that it doesn’t decompose. We also cleaned up beaches and did ‘Trash Mobs’ around school.
We then had to boycott the use of some of this plastic. You may have heard that we don’t have cling film, individual milk cartons or ice cream pots in school and that our recycling has increased and improved.
Targeting Government in 2017, our school spoke to Braunton Parish and also Devon County Council. DCC were the first County in the UK to agree to work towards becoming a plastic free Country and it was our School Council (Jess and Max) that helped push that motion through! https://www.georgeham-primary.devon.sch.uk/2017/11/08/plastic-pollution-revolution/
Then we needed to target industry. We spoke to wholesalers and suppliers so that they thought carefully about their own packaging and asked for their help in taking packaging back. We also used our impromptu beach cleans to contact the companies whose products we found.
Finally, we had to look further in to the future in trying to do more to stop single-use plastics in school, but also to spread the word further.
We have stopped using
– cling film – done in our kitchens… and encouraged parents.
– school packed lunches’ packaging… and encouraged parents.
– milk cartons
– sauce sachets – now use pump action large containers.
– ice cream and fruit pots – purchase large volume instead
– milk cartons with straws – large containers recycled. Some parents have told us they’ve returned to using a milkman.
– recycled printer cartridges (were disposable and not collected!)
– Eco-glitter is ordered instead of using standard plastic products
– We’ve started Terracycle pen recycling – even though we’re not registered, a parent takes them to a larger school’s deposit box.
– Laminated items will be stored for re-use… easier for displays, and we ask, “why laminate?”
– We do a #TrashMob at least twice a year and we do #2minbeachcleans whenever we’re at the beach
Since the Christmas break, the 150 schools working towards accreditation with the SAS, has increased by a further 200 applications.