Youngsters at one east Dorset school showed a lot of bottle when they persuaded a milk supplier to switch to more environmentally friendly goods.
The children at Oakhurst Community First School and Nursery in West Moors have successfully lobbied for their usual milk cartons and plastic straws to be switched to the greener glass bottles and re-usable drinking cups.
Their campaign came about as part of a wider eco-project run by the Heath Academy Trust to make pupils at all its six schools more aware of the damage single-use plastic is having on the environment.
And what they had learned from the project so moved them that the pupils at Oakhurst were inspired to write to a number of companies that supply goods to the school.
One plea to ditch plastic straws with their milk in particular worked a treat.
Cool Milk, which supplies the drink to the school, said it would not only ditch the plastic straws but also replace cartons with the more environmentally friendly glass bottles.
Headteacher, Ann Clark, said: “The Eco Project has really opened our children’s eyes to the damage single-use plastic is causing to the environment and in particular to our beaches and seas.
“It made them look around the school and consider how we could reduce our own impact on the environment.
“As a result the children wrote letters to a number of our suppliers asking them if there was an alternative to plastic.
“In Cool Milk’s case they asked if the company could stop sending plastic straws with its cartons.
“The company’s response was fantastic and they told us they could supply re-usable glass bottles and cups instead.”
All children aged under five receive free milk and older children at the school can also sign up to the service.
On average, Oakhurst alone was receiving 5,265 cartons and plastic straws a year.
Now they receive glass bottles instead, which are returned to Cool Milk for re-use and the children are drinking from re-useable cups.
A spokesman for Cool Milk said: “It’s great to see that the children are really taking an interest in the environment and we’re thrilled to be able to help Oakhurst First School to reduce their environmental impact.
“We know that each school has different requirements, so we provide a range of options – and in this case, we’re delighted to be able to supply glass bottles and reusable beakers to help the school reduce their plastic consumption.”
Oakhurst has a special team of children called Eco Pirates who carry out projects and initiatives to make the school more environmentally friendly.
In addition to writing to companies, these impressive youngsters also made a presentation to West Moors Parish Council in a bid to persuade it to go for plastic-free status.
CEO of Heath Academy Trust, Justine Horn, said: “It’s been fantastic to see all six of our schools take our eco project to heart.
“In Oakhurst’s case we can see the real impact the project has had on the children and how even at this young age they can make a fundamental difference to their environment.”
In the last year Heath Academy Trust’s six schools – Oakhurst, St Mary’s First in West Moors, St James’ First in Alderholt, Three Legged Cross First, Sixpenny Handley First and St Ives Primary – have enjoyed a visit from the Dorset Waste Partnership team, learned about the environmental impact of plastic on seas and beaches and taken part in beach cleans.
They also spent time with local artist, Peter Margerum, to create sculptures out of plastic that was either recovered from Dorset beaches or re-used from their own homes.
Those sculptures were recently exhibited at a special art exhibition.
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