Education secretary challenges schools to go single-use plastic free


Damian Hinds has challenged every school in the UK to be single-use plastic free by 2022, as part of a push to promote sustainability.

The education secretary has pressed school leaders to ditch plastic bottles, bags and straws in favour of more ecological options.

Mr Hinds said schools should “lead by example” by sparking conversations among young people on topics such as sustainability and the environment.

Tackling plastic pollution is viewed as a key issue by the government and while Mr Hinds is keen to see single-use plastics abolished, no additional funding is available to assist with any changes in schools. 

However, he has said that the department for education will enhance communications with major suppliers to discourage the use of plastics.

Mr Hinds is keen for schools to follow the example of Devon’s Georgeham Primary School, which became the first institution to be single-use plastic free in 2018.

“Plastic can harm our precious environment and be lethal to wildlife,” he said. “The leadership shown by schools like Georgeham Primary in going single-use plastic free is an impressive example for us all – and I want to work to support every school in the country following their lead by 2022.

“It’s not always easy but we all have a role to play in driving out avoidable plastic waste, and with more schools joining others and leading by example, we can help to leave our planet in a better state than we found it.”

In order to gain the status, awarded by marine conservation charity Surfers against sewage, Georgeham Primary removed plastics from its supply chain and found sustainable alternatives where that was not possible.

The school’s head teacher Julian Thomas said that pupils had enthusiastically supported the initiative and said he was confident that pupils across the country “would welcome the challenge”.