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Environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful has developed a new plastics guide to encourage all schools in Northern Ireland to eliminate their use of single-use plastics.

The free resource, entitled ‘How to remove pointless plastics from your school’, asks senior leaders in schools to swap items such as plastic bags, straws, bottles and food packaging in favour of sustainable alternatives, and invites them to start a conversation with pupils about the effects discarded plastics have on the environment and wildlife.

Chris Gourley, Waste and Pollution Solutions Strategic Lead at Keep NI Beautiful comments, “We do not expect schools to be totally plastic-free. Our aim is tackle the single-use plastic: the unnecessary paraphernalia that’s everywhere. It’s these throwaway plastic items that are having a huge impact on our environment, and with some simple changes in schools, they can be eradicated.”

So how can teachers begin to make a difference? The guide explains how starting a conversation with pupils can really have a big impact. Already in Northern Ireland schools such a St Colm’s Draperstown and Willowbridge School in Enniskillen have harnessed their pupil power and implemented changes through the charity’s Eco-Schools NI programme, cutting their use of plastic cutlery in canteens and using refillable drinks bottles.

Funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the booklet is designed to enable schools to make a difference to plastic pollution as soon as possible. There are five practical steps to follow so that schools can cut down on the amount of plastic that is used inside and outside of the classroom, helping to create a cleaner, greener environment.

Chris continues, “We want to support teachers in enthusing and preparing our young people to solve the plastic-pollution challenge, while helping their schools and local environment to become plastic-waste free.”

The guide can be downloaded from https://bit.ly/41XvZor


For more information contact:

Maria McLaughlin

Tackling Plastic Communication Officer



Notes to editors

Included picture of cover of new e doc for schools

Plastic Facts

1. 81% of litter found on NI beaches in 2021 was plastic.

2. Over 7.5 billion tonnes of plastic has never been recycled. If measured in plastic bottles, this could cover the whole of NI (CIWM)

3. Single-use plastics are in people's lives for an average of 2 minutes.

4. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is 6 times the size of the UK! This is just 1 of 5 plastic patches in our oceans (The Ocean Cleanup).

5. There could be more plastic in our sea than fish by the year 2050 (Ellen MacArthur Foundation).

6. 100,000 marine mammals & turtles are killed by marine plastic pollution every year (KIMO).

About Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful is a charity working towards the vision of a world where people and nature thrive, by running environmental-education programmes and awareness-raising campaigns, increasing volunteering opportunities and reporting on local environmental quality. Programmes include the national civic-pride campaign Live Here Love Here, Tackling Plastic NI, Tackling Textiles, Carbon Literacy training, and local environmental quality programmes, such as Eco-Schools NI, Blue Flag Award, Seaside Award, Green Flag Award, Cleaner Neighbourhoods and Marine Litter surveys. For more information, visit www.keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org.

About Eco-Schools NI

Eco-Schools is a programme for environmental management, certification and sustainable development education for schools. Eco-Schools was developed in 1994 on the basis of the need for involving young people in finding solutions to environmental and sustainable development challenges at the local level. The programme was initiated by member organisations of the Foundation for Environmental Education with the support of the European Commission. Eco-Schools shares the same methodology and concept across 74 participating countries and with 20 million participating students, and is identified by the Eco-Schools and Green Flag logos. Northern Ireland was the first country in the world to award a Green Flag to one of its schools. Visit www.eco-schoolsni.org for further information.