Plastic Free Schools badge from Surfers Against Sewage 2018

How To Become A Plastic Free School

Plastic pollution is an important topic of our times.  More and more evidence is showing us there is need to change our habits.  It is difficult to know where to start. Tackling this problem, that affects each and every one of us, will require action from us all.

Many of us are already looking for ways to reduce our own plastic use, from remembering to take our reusable bags to the shops, to collecting litter from our local beach, park or stream.

The question we want to answer for you is how can your school become a Plastic Free School? 


What Is  Plastic Free Schools? 

Plastic Free Schools is a Surfer’s Against Sewage movement with the aim to get rid of single-use plastic from our environment. It helps pupils understand the problems with plastic in the environment, teaches them to identify single-use items, question whether we need them, and look to replace them. It’s designed to help children learn the power of their own voice while creating lasting environmental change from the playground to parliament! 



Surfers Against Sewage Logo

Plastic Activities 

As part of the Plastic Free School campaign you will need to educate and teach students about plastic waste. Have a look at our teaching resources to help achieve this:  

Plastic Activity Finder

Top Ten Tips to Reduce Plastic Waste

Here are some of our own tips to reduce plastic use in your school. 

Top 10 Tips to Reduce Plastic Waste


Plastic Workshops

We work to deliver workshops, assemblies  and more to help embed the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) into the curriculum and everyday school life.

Find out more about our Plastic and Litter Workshops here.

Case Study 

Georgeham Primary School, Devon

In 2018,  Georgeham Primary School, became the first school in the UK to achieve the Plastic Free Schools status. 

How did they do it?

First, they looked at what plastics were in and around the school that weren’t necessary such as milk cartons, cling film and sauce packets.  Then they thought about ways to replace them. Here are just a few of the things they did: 

  • Contacted suppliers of milk carton
    s to change type of product to recyclable milk bottles.
  • Swapped from cling film to reusable  food tubs with lids
  • Swapped individual sauce packets to large sauce bottles with pump action attachments and a pump spray bottle for the vinegar
  • Contacted fruit and veg suppliers to reduce plastic from them
  • Swapped individual ice cream tubs to Arctic Roll in recyclable packaging

The result was not only a dramatic reduction of waste but also great cost savings too!

Plastic Free Schools badge from Surfers Against Sewage 2018

Keri Lambert, school dinner assistant at Georgeham Primary School pouring milk for pupils at Devon's first Plastic Free School

Image of Georgeham primary school children

External Resources

Find additional plastic free activities and resources from external organisations.

marine conservation society logoMarine Conservation SocietySign up for a beach clean led by one of the Beach Watch volunteer organisers or register your schools own event! They provide all the resources you need to get set up.

2 minute beach clean logoThe 2 Minute Foundation – Your school can join in on a drop-in group or book your class or entire school for an all day session with The 2 Minute Beach School. Or make use of their online resources.

Million mile clean logoMillion Mile Clean – Get involved with the Surfers Against Sewage ‘Million Mile Clean‘ initiative. You can clean any location, any time, just track your distance, submit your results and use the hashtag #MillionMileClean when posting on social media.

The Great Nurdle Hunt – You can take part in a nurdle hunt anytime and anywhere. All you need to do it count how many nurdles you see at your chosen location. Count how many you find, how long you were hunting and how many people took part. Then submit your data on their website!

Keep Britian Tidy logo Keep Britain Tidy – Become a #LitterHero by joining the #BigBagChallenge and pledge to pick up as much litter as you can during the campaign. The Ocean Recovery Project is also working to help volunteers recycle beach litter to be made into new items. You can also get access to free teaching resources.

Why not try any of these ideas at your school? We’d love to hear from you if you do!


Compost Curriculum

Compost Curriculum Handbook

It doesn’t matter if you are a complete beginner, or a seasoned rotter; whether you have a ‘state of the art’ composter, or a neglected plastic ‘Dalek’ in the corner of the playground.

This handbook supports teachers to use composting as an inspiring teaching resource throughout the school year. For each month it contains a curriculum-linked KS2 lesson plan and an Eco Team activity, plus a wealth of supporting documents to bring composting to life for adults and pupils.

Chair left out in street

Furniture

What is Furniture?

From the Cambridge Dictionary: furniture (noun): UK/ˈfɜː.nɪ.tʃər/ USˈfɝː.nɪ.tʃɚ/ things such as chairs, tables, beds, cupboards, etc. that are put into a house or other building to make it suitable and comfortable for living or working in.

Furniture is often made from wood and textiles (fabric), but also can contain plastic foam products and metal. Furniture can be glued or held together with nails and screws. When Furniture gets to the end of its life, in Waste Management terms, it is often grouped with other big household items like mattresses and fridges as Bulky Waste. Some District Councils will collect this waste from the kerbside.

Discover

Reduce

Could you Reduce Furniture Waste?

Reuse

Find out how to Reuse Furniture

Recycle

Find out about Furniture Recycling

Global Issues

Climate Change
Sustainable Development Goals
Circular Economy

Cardboard Worksheets

Cardboard is one of the most useful materials in our modern world. Light, adaptable, cheap to make and easy to reuse or recycle it is ideal for jobs such as food packaging and parcel delivery. The science of materials  helps understand the life cycle, properties and recycling. These investigations will help students understand how to recycle materials safely and sustainably at the end of their lives.

The worksheets on this page will help young people understand the science behind the adaptable and useful material that is cardboard.

Pile of cardboard

Downloadable Worksheets

Key Stage 3 Worksheet:

(pdf) Download KS3 Worksheet: Safe, clean and nutritious food

(Word) Download KS3 Worksheet: Safe, clean and nutritious food

Link to KS3/4 Quiz:

Link to KS3/4 Zone YouTube Playlist about Cardboard and Nutrition

image of the science of electrical equipment logo

Find out about the Science of Electricals

Available now! Our new worksheets are all about electrical equipment.

image of the science of electrical equipment logo

Electrical Equipment Worksheets

We use electrical equipment every day at home, work and at school. Whether a piece of toast in the morning, a nice cup of tea or photocopied worksheets, almost everything we do in the modern world relies on electricity to power it. But do we actually know how they work and what to do with them at the end of their lives? The science of electrical equipment explains how they work and helps us to dispose or recycle items safely and sustainably at the end of their lives.

The worksheets on this page will help young people understand the science behind the electrical equipment they use at home.

Electrical Equipment Worksheets

Electrical Equipment Quizzes





Clothes and Textiles

What are Clothes and Textiles?

Textiles are the name given to the material used to make clothes and other cloth items like bedding and towels. They are formed from fibres which are spun together into yarn and woven into fabrics. They are incredibly long-lasting if you keep them dry and clean and some can last a lifetime. Find out more below…


Discover


Reduce

Find out how to reduce Clothes and Textiles

Reuse

Find out how to reuse Clothes and Textiles

Recycle

Find out how to recycle Clothes and Textiles

Global Issues

Climate Change
Sustainable Development Goals
Circular Economy
image of science of paper

Paper Worksheets

Paper is everywhere! From our earliest pictures stuck to the fridge by our parents to the letter telling us about the latest supermarket offers, even in our modern society, paper is still used for writing and drawing or passing on information. And who can imagine a world without toilet roll! From magazines to junk mail there are lots of ways to reduce the amount of paper we use in our everyday lives. Check out our resource pages to find out more about Paper.

Paper can be recycled everywhere in Devon from the kerbside (see our District Recycling Sheets). To find out what happens after the recycling truck leaves your doorstep watch our video about how paper is recycled in Devon.



Downloadable Worksheets and Paper Quizzes


We have created Science of Materials: Paper worksheets for all ages. Each worksheet is accompanied by a quiz to assess learning. Some also include a playlist of relevant videos.

We hope the worksheets on this page will help young people understand the science behind paper. We hope doing these activities will create better scientists and more critical thinkers. We know the wicked problems (complex and difficult issues like climate change and biodiversity loss) we are leaving the next generation will need some innovative thinking to solve them!

Why not try out our fun quiz at the bottom of the page too!



Microplastics up Snowdon

Lake and mountains

This lesson plan will help students from Y5 to Y8 evaluate and assess some recent news stories from the waste industry, understanding what is going on and what might be happening behind the scenes when we read things online.

See more about improving digital and media literacy for KS2 and KS3 students on our PSHE and Life Skills related page on media literacy.

The activity here will help improve students’ critical thinking skills as they compare different types of information about microplastics found in a lake on Mount Snowdon.

Microplastics are released from plastic clothing (ie. clothes made from nylon, polyester – especially fleece – and acrylic) when they are washed, making their way into the environment through water courses and drains. Some microplastics may also be released into the air during active wear. Microplastics are invisible to the naked eye but can be seen under a microscopes. Spectral analysis can find out the type of plastic, and sometimes point to a source of the pollution.

Download Lesson Plan on Digital Literacy: Microplastics on Snowdon

Download Powerpoint for Digital Literacy Lesson: Microplastics on Snowdon