Eco video - Single Use is NO USE
See the St Peter’s Eco Champions in this fantastic video created by Oli Force:
In September 2018 children and staff at St Peter’s C of E Primary School began their mission to eliminate single-use plastics from across the school. It was instantly evident that one of the largest sources of single-use plastic was coming from the government provided fruit and vegetable snack scheme. The school’s Eco Champions, led by Ms Jemima Moore, wasted no time in writing to both the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as well as directly to the snack suppliers.
Pupils let them know that, whilst they were very grateful for the fruit and vegetables for schools scheme, solutions to the wasteful packaging were needed. Eco Champions asked that they find alternatives to sending fruit in so much plastic and stopped sending unrecyclable black plastic and plastic nets. They also suggested that the snack could be delivered in reusable crates instead of cardboard boxes which are used just once, costing the school over £400 to have recycled each year.
The government is challenging schools to become single-use plastic free by 2022 and education secretary, David Hinds, ‘has the long-term ambition that all schools will work with suppliers to make these small changes with a view to make a big difference in single use plastic consumption.’(1) Yet, every day this government led scheme is sending huge amounts of single-use plastic to schools across the country. Instead of leading the way on turning the tide on single-use plastic waste and finding solutions, the response to the pupil’s letters simply gave excuses. St Peter’s mission to become single-use plastic free is going well with the school being awarded Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free School status. The stream of fruit snack waste continues, however, and a year and a half on there is no sign of action being taken by the government to reduce it.
The school’s headteacher, Mr Steve Hitchcock, reached out to other East Devon school’s who were also being swamped in single-use plastic with an idea to visually represent the problem. School’s collected fruit snack plastic waste to create a short film in the hope that it might have the impact that letters to the government have failed to. The film will be sent to DEFRA and to the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme. It is hoped that it will be shared widely and raise awareness of the government’s inaction where it should be leading the way.
St Peter’s also raised wider issues around the carbon footprint of their fruit snacks and asked DEFRA if the school may be allowed to source locally produced, seasonal fruit and vegetable snacks instead of using the national provider. No response was received. The Guardian reported on this issue, writing that,
‘Fruit and vegetables given to children under a government scheme are largely imported, often of poor quality and have higher levels of pesticide residues than supermarket equivalents, a report has revealed.’(2)