Pupils at two Bo’ness schools are playing a lead role in a national Plastic Pioneers campaign to “drastically” cut single-use plastic in UK schools.
Kinneil Primary and Bo’ness Academy are representing Scotland in a dozen-strong group of schools from across the UK taking part in the bid to make an impact on what’s seen as a major national problem.
The campaign will tackle the single use of everything from plastic bags and straws to bottles and food packaging.
Pupils will form a Plastic Pioneers committee and audit their school’s consumption of single-use plastic before experimenting with various initiatives.
These will include replacing plastic bottles with reusable ones, banning yoghurt pots and rethinking how lunchtime sandwiches are wrapped.
They will also take part in workshops with expert guest speakers, including Dan Webb - who last week launched information campaign the Everyday Plastic Survey, TEDx teen speaker Amy Meek from Kids Against Plastic and Mel Fisher, who runs Christmas markets with zero waste brands.
Next year the Bo’ness pupils involved in the campaign will report back on the single initiative that has made the biggest difference to cutting the consumption of single-use plastic in their schools.
The campaign is being led by environmental charity Hubbub, which explores innovative ways to interest mainstream consumers in important sustainability issues
Natalie Bayliss, Creative Partner at Hubbub, said: “Single-use plastic is everywhere and our schools are no exception.
“It’s so ubiquitous, we often don’t even register it’s there, and yet it’s having an extremely damaging impact on our wildlife and environment.
“This campaign helps empower young people to challenge whether single-use plastic really needs to be used and to come up with alternatives.”
Plastic Pioneers sponsors TK Maxx and Homesense have so far removed what are said to be the nine biggest contributors to ocean waste plastic from their stores and offices.
These include plastic drink bottles, single use carrier bags, straws, plastic cups and non-biodegradable wipes.
The top ten ways schools can cut use of single-use plastic are said to be -
1. Actively encourage pupils to remember their reusable water bottles
2. Install and promote water bottle refill points
3. Ban straws and disposable dessert pots
4. Switch to metal cutlery
5. Wrap sandwiches in tin foil
6. Bring mugs back to the staffroom and parent events
7. Reward book care rather than wrapping books in plastic
8. Create a reusable “party kit” for school events and parties
9. Invite inspiring plastic reduction experts to talk to the school about their tips and ideas
10. Create and empower your own Plastic Pioneer committee to challenge single-use plastics