Children up and down the country will be given a hands-on role in challenging the confusion around what can and cannot be recycled as part of a ground-breaking environmental audit with Keep Britain Tidy.
Over 20,000 schools will be taking part in the project through the environmental charity’s Eco Schools programme. It is being supported by recycling partner Harrogate Water along with Plastipak, one of the global leaders in sustainable packaging and recycling.
Eco-Schools is a global programme engaging 19.5 million children across 67 countries, making it the largest educational programme in the world.
The Eco-Schools Programme is pupil-led, involving hands-on learning that gets the whole school and the wider community involved in exciting environmental projects.
Schools are provided with free resources to help them progress to the international Eco-Schools Green Flag award within 12 months of registration and Keep Britain Tidy provides additional assistance from a dedicated team of former teachers.
Richard McIlwain of Keep Britain Tidy said: “We are currently working with Harrogate Water and Plastipak on the new Waste and Recycling module. In 2019 ‘The Challenge’ will be a call to action for all participating schools to take part in a national survey assessing recycling in schools, finding out what waste management resources they have available as well as understanding local authority collections and recycling services.
“This National survey will be the first if its kind and will allow the schools to help advise on what they believe we should be doing to improve provision and help harmonise recycling services in schools across the country. The report will be published in an easy-to-use infographic format and made available to all relevant parties.
“This work by students will provide the springboard for the ‘Circular School 2020 Challenge’ when we’ll be encouraging schools to take an active role in coming up with sustainable waste management solutions.”
Kinza Sutton, Plastipak’s Head of Public Affairs and Sustainability Europe, said: “Plastipak and Harrogate Water are champions of the circular economy and we believe children can play a big part in shaping a sustainable future and challenging the misinformation and confusion around waste management and recycling.”
Harrogate Water Brand Manager Nicky Cain said: “The Eco-Schools project will promote discussion around waste, recycling and the circular economy in the classroom. We know that children are passionate about the environment and want to lead the way in making positive changes.
“This programme gives them the opportunity, not only to uncover the facts about packaging and recycling but to influence the way forward towards a more sustainable future.”
As part of the project, Harrogate Water and Plastipak will adding their expertise in recycling and recyclable packaging and producing a video showing the lifecycle of a bottle of Harrogate Spring. All content for the module will be approved by the Assessments and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) and feed into academic subjects, as well as linking into Global Citizenship as part of the National Curriculum.
All PET bottles of Harrogate Spring are 100 per cent recyclable and contain at least 50 per cent recycled content, processed and supplied by Plastipak. The recycled content is sourced solely from the UK to inform consumers that their bottle may return as a new bottle when it is recycled.
Harrogate Spring and Keep Britain Tidy are behind the Incredible Shrinking Bottle recycling initiative, urging consumers to recycle their PET bottles, with the message ‘Twist It. Cap It. Recycle It.’
Twisting the PET bottle to make it easy to shrink to a small size was the idea of Emily Eggleston, a pupil of Harrogate Grammar School. “We were playing with the bottle thinking of how best to crush it and found that twisting made it much easier and you can recycle more if you squash it,” she said.
PHOTO: Eco students at Harrogate Grammar School, standing, Isabella Cornell-Codling and Josie Robinson, seated, Emily Eggleston, Anjali Arthur and Charlotte Carlyon