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Uppingham Community College is banning single-use plastic from September 2019

A secondary school is to become free of single-use plastic by 2020, two years ahead of the Government’s target date.

From September Uppingham Community College will no longer sell drinks in plastic bottles and is phasing out all single-use plastic items in its dining room.

It has invested £100 in new recycling bins, and £360 in mains-fed water coolers around the school.

Year 8 environmental campaigners Anna Tring, Jocelyn Diaz and Hope Rowlett
Year 8 environmental campaigners Anna Tring, Jocelyn Diaz and Hope Rowlett

It is also encouraging pupils to use re-usable bottles and an Uppingham Community College re-usable metal bottle is being introduced for pupils to buy for £9, with £1 from every sale going towards the charity Surfers Against Sewage, which has been instrumental in encouraging schools to become single-use plastic free.

Year 8 environmental campaigners Anna Tring, Jocelyn Diaz and Hope Rowlett first brought the school’s attention to the issues earlier in the year with some hard-hitting assemblies, inspired by the BBC TV series War on Plastic.

During their campaigning they said: “We couldn’t stand to see our planet slowly deteriorating and nobody doing anything about it. This is important because if we don’t change our filthy habits now, there will be no turning back.

“Is there hope for the future? Possibly, if we can all come together to act now. It is vital that we dramatically reduce the amount of single-use plastic sooner rather than later.”

School catering manager Stephanie Bridger has been fully supportive of the process and is working with her team to find imaginative and appealing sustainable alternatives for pupils.

From September this year they will be selling flavoured waters in re-usable containers, and exploring the use of other re-useable or biodegradable packaging for all other foods and drinks.

Mrs Bridger said: “This initiative is going to be a new challenge for the catering department but we are confident of achieving our goal with the help and support of the whole school team.”

Deputy principal, David Anderson, has been involved with helping the pupils in the project.

He said: “We feel we should be modelling positive attitudes towards our environment and setting our students up for a life time of environmental responsibility.”

Another school is loaning parents a 'party pack' of reusable plastic plates, cups, jugs and platters. To find out more, click here.

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