As the saying goes, “you can never start them too young” and we are fierce believers that this is very much the case when it comes to the eradication of single-use plastics. If we are to really make a change and reduce the amount of plastics washing up on our beaches then it falls to us to educate the younger generation about how simple the move to multiple-use items is, and the consequences that we can already observe if we continue to manufacture and dispose of single-use plastics.
So important a cause is the environment that education secretary, Damian Hinds is encouraging all schools to no longer by reliant on single-use plastics by 2022 by simply swapping plastic straws, bottles and food packaging for more sustainable alternatives such as stainless-steel bottles, washable cups and reusable metal straws. Hinds also added that school children should be taught by their teachers about the impact that discarded single-use plastics can have on the environment, but is this all a bit too little too late
“Reducing our use of plastic clearly is an important and timely issue which has captured the interest and the imagination of everyone in society.”Damian Hinds, 2018
School makes a stand against single-use plastic
As far as we are concerned there is no such thing as too little too late as every small change makes a difference, and the time to make that change? It is now. We aren’t the only ones who think that it’s time we made a stand however, with Georgeham Primary School in Devon already being awarded recognition for their eradication of single-use plastic by environmental group Surfers Against Sewage. Schools are a great vessel to steer real change in society as their mass buying power can put real pressure on suppliers and manufacturers, especially should they demand orders free from single-use plastics. They are also best placed to educate the younger generation on the effects of mass consumption of single-use plastics, helping shape the behaviour and attitudes of the future at an age where they are yet to shape habits or purchasing decisions.
The move to multiple-use plastic isn’t always a simple one, but there are some small changes that are easy to make that your local school could adopt too. Georgeham Primary School has swapped the common non-recyclable milk cartons with a plastic-wrapped straw attached, to milk delivered in recyclable containers that are served to students in reusable washable cups. A simple move to make, but one that would significantly reduce the amount of single-use plastic in schools.
What can we expect in the future?
As schools demand change manufacturers will have to consider minimising the use of single-use plastics and begin exploring alternative materials that are much kinder to the planet. There is also talk of several new taxes being introduced to protect our environment from any more damage, including one on any plastic packaging that does not include at least 30% recycled content.
We can all do our bit to help and we still have time to leave this planet in a better state than we found it. This may just be the beginning, but if you’re looking for ideas on how to make simple swaps at home check out our post with Plastic-Free Me here.
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