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Students' efforts to cut plastic use rewarded as Telford school given national award

By Rob Smith | Telford | Education | Published:

A Telford school has become the first in Shropshire to win a sustainability award for its students' hard work to cut out single-use plastics.

Co-ordinator Suzanne Bearblock, centre, with staff and students

Hollinswood Primary School & Nursery was presented with its Plastics Free Schools Award from Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) this week.

It follows months of hard work by senior year groups, teachers and volunteers to change the school's culture.

They have reduced or replaced single-use items like pudding cups and cling film, supplied each child with a long-life water bottle and started re-purposing things like bagel bags to store and transport things.

The school's sustainability champion Susanne Bearblock, from Newport, said: "We are the first school in Shropshire to earn the Plastics Free Schools award which is very exciting.

"Year 5 summer term (now Year 6), and the current Year 5 classes have led on the activities for this award – over 120 pupils in the two cohorts.

"While the award is called the SAS Plastics Free School Award, I made it very clear that it is, in fact, single-use plastics that are targeted for the activity.

Challenges

"Plastic will always have a place in school, as many resources are made from re-usable, longer life plastic – equipment, toys, maths resources for example.

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"It is the single-use plastics items that we are targeting to remove, or at the very least heavily reduce, if it is an unavoidable item, from our school environment.

"In order to earn the award we had to complete several challenges, which included multiple activities, with Year 5 pupils leading the way."

The challenges included creating an action group to deal with litter and single-use plastics; conducting a 'trash mob' litter pick; writing to companies who produce single-use plastics and asking how they could reduce it; recording plastic used at home; and sharing results through a newsletter and 'eco assemblies'.

The children do not want to rest on their laurels and are thinking of their next moves.

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Mrs Bearblock said: "Even though we have completed the tasks for earning our SAS award, the children would like to do more.

"There are still many more items that the children wish to investigate removing from the school environment.

"One of the next items on their list is the reduction of unnecessary plastic wrapping that is often a part of a wide range of items delivered to school."

Rob Smith

By Rob Smith
Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.

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