Village school near Aylesbury gets top marks for cutting back on plastic use

Haddenham Community Infant School is the first in the county to achieve a gold award under the new scheme
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A village school near Aylesbury has won an award for its efforts to cut back on single-use plastics.

Haddenham Community Infant School (HCIS) is the first school in the county to achieve a gold award as part of a new scheme launched by Buckinghamshire Recycles last September.

The Reduce Single-Use Plastic initiative encourages primary schools to look at ways they can reduce or cut out the use of single-use plastic in everyday school life.

Cllr Gareth Williams with school administrator Carly Busby and pupils at Haddenham Community Infant SchoolCllr Gareth Williams with school administrator Carly Busby and pupils at Haddenham Community Infant School
Cllr Gareth Williams with school administrator Carly Busby and pupils at Haddenham Community Infant School

From bringing in reusable water bottles to replacing single-use cups, plates and cutlery with sustainable and reusable alternatives, the scheme aims to provide schools with the information and tools to make simple changes.

The initiative also helps generate wider understanding of plastic pollution and its impacts, with information and resources available for schools to use. It is planned to expand the scheme out to secondary schools from September.

Schools start by making a pledge to sign up to the scheme and then choose which actions they will complete to achieve their goal. Schools can pledge to achieve four actions to get a bronze award, eight actions for silver or achieve all 12 for a gold award. This year, 22 schools across Bucks took part, with Haddenham Community Infant School becoming the first to achieve gold status.

The school decided from the outset that it wanted to go for gold by aiming for all 12 actions. Some of the changes included using recycled plates, cups and cutlery in school, getting the children to create posters to put on recycling bins to encourage greater use, and giving tips and ideas to families on making waste-free lunches.

Gareth Williams, Bucks Council cabinet member for climate change and environment, visited the school to present it with its certificate. The school also won some gardening equipment, seeds and Bucks Community Compost for its gardening club.

School administrator Carly Busby, who led the project, said: “We are extremely proud to be the first school to win the gold award. Here at HCIS we feel it is important that schools do their utmost to try and reduce their carbon footprint as much as they possibly can. We also feel that it is imperative that the children learn to make correct choices to help with raising awareness and making a positive change in addressing climate change.

“The way in which the children and staff pulled together and in such a short space of time will be something that we never forget.

"We hope that this will encourage more schools to make positive changes to help save the environment, especially as these changes do not need to be huge or cost too much money.”

Bucks Community Compost is a peat-free compost that has been made locally from recycled organic matter, including garden waste from Bucks. The compost costs £5.50 per 40-litre bag or £15.50 for three bags, and is available to buy from the Aston Clinton and High Wycombe Household Recycling Centres (card payments only). Proceeds from the sale of the compost will go to local good causes.