Milking the System
Sometimes we are not always presented with sustainable products and it can seem too daunting to find a perfect solution to our plastic problem. The fear of having to make extra effort and ask more questions to product and service suppliers sometimes blocks us from implementing positive environmental change. Last year, Darrara National School made an exceptional effort to change attitudes towards single-use plastic in the school.
Like many schools all over Ireland, Darrara N.S. takes part in the school milk scheme. During their Global Citizenship Litter and Waste programme they concluded that plastic as a material isn’t the enemy but rather our single-use and throwaway behaviour is to blame.
Their green school committee came up
with an idea to cut back their daily single-use plastic waste. They took the initiative
to write to their milk supplier, asking them if they could stop receiving the
individual school milk cartons and start receiving 2 litre milk cartons
instead. Each student brought in their own cup and two students from the senior
classroom were tasked with filling everyone’s cup from the larger milk carton,
eliminating the extra plastic caps and single use straws.
Darrara N.S. Green Schools Committee wrote to us asking if we would share their initiative to the Green-Schools network in the hope that all schools taking part in the school milk scheme could feel inspired to follow their practice in reducing single-use plastic.
Similarly, Transition Year students in Newpark School, Blackrock worked arduously to become the first school in Ireland to put an end to the use of single use plastics on campus. Students successfully coordinated with their canteen catering company to implement the use of biodegradable cutlery and packaging. Further to their initiative they developed branded Newpark reusable water bottles, which are on the book-list for incoming first years to invest in. The campus has three water refill stations and students are encourage to make use of their refillable bottles. Water Ambassador student, Don Crowley, told us that ‘these actions have helped changed the attitudes towards disposable plastics in Newpark and we have created a team composed of younger students to keep it up for years to come.’ Check out their campaign ‘Plastic outta the Park’ on social media.
Has your school made a similar effort to switch how they provide a lunch or beverage service with reduce single-use plastic? We would love to hear from you! If you want to contact your vendor to raise a concern you have for how their produce is packaged you can download this template letter here.