Two Bo’ness schools have joined thousands of pupils across the country in a new campaign to drastically cut the consumption of single-use plastic in UK schools.
More than 7,000 pupils, across 12 schools, have signed up to Plastic Pioneers - a campaign led by environmental charity Hubbub, and sponsored by retailers TK Maxx and Homesense. The schools benefit from being part of a community stretching from Scotland to the south coast, sharing ideas on how to reduce their consumption of single-use plastic.
Bo’ness Academy and Kinneil Primary school pupils have been taking part in the Plastic Pioneers campaign.
As part of the campaign, pupils form a Plastic Pioneers committee and audit their school’s consumption of single-use plastic.
They then advise on - and experiment with - ways to reduce single-use plastic, coming up with their own initiatives including replacing plastic bottles with reusable ones, banning yoghurt pots and rethinking lunchtime packaging.
Committee members wear Plastic Pioneers badges to encourage their classmates to think carefully about their consumption of single-use plastic.
Catriona Reid, headteacher at Bo’ness Academy said: “Our pupils are increasingly aware of environmental issues and are interested in taking part in action to make a positive difference.
“Reducing single-use plastic is part of that picture and Bo’ness Academy is happy to be participating in the Plastic Pioneers project to tackle this in school.”
Heather Cullen, headteacher at Kinneil Primary School said:“Kinneil Primary is excited to be taking part in the Plastic Pioneers project.
“Pupils have been leading environmental improvement in school through our Eco-Schools group for almost 20 years.
“We are looking forward to taking on this new challenge of reducing single-use plastic.”
Researchers have found that on average in the UK we each throw away over 34kg of plastic packaging every year – nearly the weight of 5,000 pencils. Much of this cannot be recycled and ends up in landfill, floating around in our rivers and oceans.
Natalie Bayliss, creative partner at Hubbub, which is leading the Plastic Pioneers campaign, said each school involved in the campaign has been coming up with different, innovative ways to cut down on single-use plastic.
“Pupils up and down the country have devised some brilliant ideas - from cutting out plastic in canteens to experimenting with alternatives to plastic prizes at school events,” she 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.”
A YouGov survey in April showed just under half of us - 46 per cent - feel guilty about the amount of plastic we use, while more than eight in 10 of us are actively trying to reduce the amount we throw away.