Welcome to Plastic Free 4 Kids. We want to help your school to avoid single use plastics, reduce waste and maximise recycling. Your school can act as an ambassador in your community to turn the tide on plastic pollution by showing what can be done and by having fun doing it. So no matter the size or location of your school – find out here how you can get involved.
- Dr Tara Shine and Madeleine Murray, Co-Founders of Plastic Free 4 Schools
Check out the new online programme Plastic Free 4 Kids. It's a free 8 lesson, curriculum-aligned programme designed for 3rd-6th class pupils.
Plastic Free 4 Schools is a programme to help schools to go plastic free, through 3 plastic free Actions, and in turn, act as ambassadors for change in their communities. It has been designed by Change by Degrees and tested through Plastic Free Kinsale - a community initiative to free a whole town from single use plastic. In 2019 and 2020 over 7,500 teachers and students took part in in-person Plastic Free workshops in Cork and Tipperary. This work was cut short due to the pandemic but Change by Degrees created Plastic Free 4 Kids in order to continue this much-needed awareness raising and community outreach for primary school students. Primary schools right across the country can now learn with via the 8 lesson, online programme.
Plastic pollution is a problem that affects every person living in Ireland today – either directly through rising waste collection charges due to recent changes to recycling waste processes, or indirectly through potential impacts on health and wellbeing. Plastic waste litters our countryside, our beaches and usually ends up in the sea. In February 2018 researchers in NUIG found that 73% of deepwater fish had ingested plastic particles, one of the highest frequencies in fish ever reported. Many varieties of plastics are toxic and it is not yet known how these toxins will affect human health.
You can become a Plastic Free Champion in your school by building a team of helpers (both staff and students) and taking the following 3 actions:
i) Incorporate the online 8 lesson programme into your curriculum
ii) Encourage reusable water bottles and say no to plastic in lunch boxes
iii) Become a Plastic Free Ambassador in your community
"We were delighted to have Dr. Tara Shine visit the school in February to tell the children all about the Plastic Free 4 Schools initiative. The children discussed the impact plastic is having on the environment, particularly our oceans. As a coastal town, it’s vital that the children spearhead the drive to rid the area of plastic. Now, all the children have reusable lunch boxes and drink bottles. We have banned plastic straws in the school. This has a dual effect – reducing waste and encouraging children to drink more water, rather than sugary juices and smoothies. It was a great morning and the children were inspired to do their bit to keep our environment litter, and particularly plastic, free. We do a weekly lunchbox check for unnecessary packaging and the senior classes designed Keep Our Oceans Free From Plastic posters."
- St Multose School, Kinsale
How to get involved
You can use the planning document to incorporate this programme into the work assigned to your pupils. It is not necessary to complete all 8 lessons but upon doing so, the pupil will receive a Certificate of Participation.
This guide provides an overview on how your school can become a Plastic Free Ambassador.