Press Release from Buckinghamshire Council
08 June 2023
School says so long to single-use plastics
A Buckinghamshire primary school has won an award for its efforts to cut back on single-use plastics. Haddenham Community Infant School (HCIS) is the first school in the county to achieve a gold award as part of a new scheme launched by Buckinghamshire Recycles last September.
The Reduce Single-Use Plastic initiative encourages primary schools to look at ways they can reduce or cut out the use of single-use plastic in everyday school life. From bringing in reusable water bottles to replacing single-use cups, plates and cutlery with sustainable and reusable alternatives, the scheme aims to provide schools with the information and tools to make simple changes. The initiative also helps generate wider understanding of plastic pollution and its impacts with information and resources available for schools to use. It is planned to expand the scheme out to secondary schools from September.
Schools start by making a pledge to sign up to the scheme and then choose which actions they will complete to achieve their goal. The scheme has a charter which lists 12 actions. Schools can pledge to achieve 4 actions to get a bronze award, 8 actions for silver or achieve all 12 for a gold award. This year 22 schools across Buckinghamshire took part with Haddenham Community Infant School becoming the first to achieve gold status.
The school decided from the outset that it wanted to go for gold by aiming for all 12 actions. Some of the changes included using recycled plates, cups and cutlery in school, getting the children to create posters to put on recycling bins to encourage greater use and giving tips and ideas to families on making waste free lunches.
In recognition of their achievement, Gareth Williams, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment visited the school to congratulate them and present them with their certificate. The school was also presented with some gardening equipment, seeds and some Buckinghamshire Community Compost for their gardening club as a prize for their efforts.
Gareth said: “A huge well done to the children, staff and whole school community at Haddenham Community Infant School. This is a massive achievement and testament to the commitment and hard work of everyone involved. Single-use plastics are a very real problem, but this scheme shows that just a few simple changes can make a big difference. I would encourage other schools to think about signing up and starting their own journey to reducing single-use plastics.”
Carly Busby, School Administrator at HCIS who led the project, said: “We are extremely proud to be the first school to win the gold award. Here at HCIS we feel it is important that schools do their utmost to try and reduce their carbon footprint as much as they possibly can. We also feel that it is imperative that the children learn to make correct choices to help with raising awareness and making a positive change in addressing climate change.”
Carly continued: “The way in which the children and staff pulled together and in such a short space of time will be something that we never forget. We hope that this will encourage more schools to make positive changes to help save the environment, especially as these changes do not need to be huge or cost too much money.”
To find more about the Reduce Single-Use scheme or sign up your school visit: www.recycleforbuckinghamshire.co.uk/plastic-free-schools
Buckinghamshire Community Compost is a peat-free compost that has been made locally from recycled organic matter including garden waste from Buckinghamshire. The compost is PAS 100 certified and only £5.50 per 40-litre bag or £15.50 for three bags. It is available to buy from the High Wycombe and Aston Clinton Household Recycling Centres (HRCs). Purchases can be made by card payment only. Proceeds from the sale of this compost will go to local good causes.