Our staff have listened to a presentation from Michel, our PTA funded Environmental and Sustainability coordinator, and he gave his opinion on what action we can take and suggested a focus for the school. We looked at zero waster and the need to reduce carbon but we had to narrow this focus down to one area.
That focus area is to have a war on plastic. To fight against plastic until the bitter end.
He acknowledged it will be challenging as plastic is so easy to use, so convenient and the alternatives will not be as good.
However the facts are clear as scientists, as part of the UN IPCC report, have all agreed that we cannot continue on the current path. Michel shared the facts around how plastics are killing our ecosystems, how it is a poison that our environment is not coping with and as a school we should take a stand.
I am proud to share with the community what this war on plastic looks like.
Here is a summary of the decisions from the meetings:
- Teaching staff to share a summary of the presentation from Michel with the children, to share with them what the staff are doing and then ask them what action they are prepared to take
- We will be sharing with children and parents that as of the first week back after CNY, we will be making a New Years resolution to discourage single use plastic at Peak School. This will mean that parents/helpers will have to be more aware of nude food (food without packaging) and that the school will not be providing bins for single use plastics – meaning children will have to take home crisp packets, wrappings etc.
- We will not be buying in anymore glue sticks (single use)
- We will no be buying in anymore laminating pouches (plastic of no use)
- We will be looking to replace bin liners, currently plastic bags, with compostable bags (single use)
- We will not be buying in anymore single use white board markers and only using refill ones that take cartridges
- Staff will be asked to lead by example and not bring in single use plastic
- Staff will be asked to take any single use plastic home with them, after CNY. e.g. plastic bags, yoghurt containers, blueberry punnets
- The water fountain in the staffroom will be replaced with a bench top water filter – similar concept to how the children get their water
- Explore wooden toys and games versus buying plastic ones
- We continue to use the plastic that we have in the school until it needs to be replaced. Upon replacement we look for alternative options.
- Explore soap options for toilets rather than plastic bottle dispensers or ensure we buy in bulk
One of the biggest challenges we face with this war on plastics is that we can’t anticipate all the issues that may arise and any solutions/alternatives might be hard to find. We have to approach this as a team and as a team we need to be prepared to share challenges and then problem solve together.
If we are serious about making a difference, we need to lead by example. This is not about the adult population of Peak School teaching our children how to be green. This is about us realising we cannot leave it to them and we must take action.
The fact that you will start to have single use plastic returned to you at home from school will hopefully encourage you to rethink your approach to how you are providing snacks for your children and come up with alternatives that reduce completely the need for plastic. We are not telling you what you can and cannot do, but what we are saying is that if you choose to provide your child with single use plastic (wrappings) they will be returned to you at the end of the school day.
No doubt we will question, at times, the impact we are having globally by taking a stand. BUT we can only control what we can control and reducing the use of “single use” plastic (wrappings etc) and “plastic of no use” (water fountain, laminating) as a Peak School community are things that we can control.
We are all clearly passionate about the planet and we now approach a crossroads where we, as individuals and as a school community, face a decision around how we feel and what we are actually personally prepared to do about it. Michel stressed this has to be done as a team. Similar to an addict who needs support to stop taking, we will all need to support each other to help us reduce our addiction to plastic.
We will hold a information session on February 15 at 8.40am to share in more detail what we are doing and what impact this will have on our families and why it is worth fighting for.