After alarming discoveries relating to the scale of plastic pollution in our environment, and especially our oceans – there is a renewed drive to dramatically reduce the amount of plastic that we use in our everyday lives and the amount that we dispose of. This effort is part of the greater campaign to reduce carbon emissions and slow climate change – and the less plastic that has to be sent to landfill and incinerators, the better!
Starting an anti-plastic programme!
Pupils and students today are the generation that are most at risk from potentially calamitous effects of climate change and damage to ecosystems caused by human activity. To that end, it’s a great idea to begin educating children and young people about the environment, plastics and pollution as early as possible. By running special classes and workshops, we can accomplish some amazing things:
• Cultivating conservationist and environmentally-conscious attitudes in young people.
• Underpinning an understanding of the ecological and environmental impact of human activity.
• Driving and inspiring active interest in environmental protection.
Highlighting, teaching and reinforcing the key principles of environmental education can give students and pupils a solid foundation that they can use to interpret and understand some of the biggest challenges in the world today. That education can also be bolstered and underpinned by including special sections in student planners and your school’s B5 student planner.
Reuse, Replace and Recycle!
One of the first practical steps towards reducing the number of plastics in the classroom is to take a hard look at the everyday items that end up being binned at the end of the day. Here are a few examples of plastics that regularly end up in landfill, as well as some ideas on how to reduce them!
• Plastic bags, straws and containers from packed lunches. How about promoting reusable drink straws rather than disposable ones? If lunch items are wrapped in cling-film or stored in sandwich bags, could tin-foil be used instead? Make sure that packaging such as desert pot containers are recycled!
• Coffee Cups. Nobody would ever suggest you cut out your morning takeaway coffee! However, did you know that the overwhelming majority of takeaway drink cups can’t be recycled, or made from recycled paper? Set a great example for students by having your morning cup in a reusable flask. You can usually get one from your favourite coffee shop anyway!
• Stationary and craft materials – How many bits of plastic end up being thrown away each term from stationary and crafts? Think about how many empty ballpoint pens, broken rulers and planners get discarded? It’s definitely worth talking to your suppliers about getting plastic-free substitutes.
Talking about stationary, we’ve worked hard to produce a 100% plastic-free school planner that schools can customise via MyPenstripe, our easy-to-use tool that can help you create the perfect planner for your school.
We all need to think carefully about how we can reduce our environmental impact. These are just a few ideas to get you started on the road to a plastic-free classroom!
Olaf Surtees has been with Penstripe for ten years; what he doesn’t know about teacher planners, student planners, and lesson planners isn’t worth knowing! He’s in charge of creating our blog content, helping teachers and administrators with helpful hints and tips, as well as our socials — see the links below to find out more.