Welcome to Plastic Free 4 Schools. 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
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 though potential impacts on health and wellbeing. Plastic waste litters our countryside, our beaches and usually ends up in the sea. In February 2018 researc...
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 though 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 deep water 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.
Plastic Free 4 Schools is a programme to help schools to go plastic free, through 3 plastic free asks, 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 its first couple of months, all 5 national schools in Kinsale and one of the secondary schools have signed up to start the Plastic Free 4 Schools journey.
Plastic Free 4 Schools founders Tara and Madeline met while swimming in the sea and decided to join forces to help people in their community to come together and take practical steps to reduce their consumption of single use plastic. They co-founded Plastic Free 4 Schools in January 2018 to educate, inspire and change behaviour related to plastic consumption and plastic waste. Their approach is based on empowering and mobilising stakeholder groups in a community to take action, through 3 simple asks and their goals is to have 300 national schools pledged to Plastic Free 4 Schools within 12 months.
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) Encourage reusable water bottles
ii) Say no to plastic in lunch boxes
iii) Say no to plastic straws
The Plastic Free 4 Schools actions are complimentary with the Green Flag programme, so you can take these actions as part of working towards this award, or outside of it.
"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 affect – 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
To get your team together and get sign in from the school community it will initially take 3-4 of hours over approx 2 weeks. After that, an hour a week should be plenty. If you do a workshop it will take a little longer, to put it together and deliver.