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Young eco-warriors calling for reduction in single-use plastic in school lunches

PUBLISHED: 16:59 10 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:49 11 July 2019

Year 1 children at Lakenham Primary School with posters and some of the plastic waste they have been collecting from the school's supplied packed lunches for a week. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Year 1 children at Lakenham Primary School with posters and some of the plastic waste they have been collecting from the school's supplied packed lunches for a week. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2019

Children are demanding major changes from a catering company after collecting bags full of single-use plastic.

Year 6 children, from left, 11-year-olds, Jessica Damond, Isabelle Brown, and Aaliyah Tembo, at Lakenham Primary School with their news reports they have written on plastic waste. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYYear 6 children, from left, 11-year-olds, Jessica Damond, Isabelle Brown, and Aaliyah Tembo, at Lakenham Primary School with their news reports they have written on plastic waste. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Pupils from year one and six at Lakenham Primary School and Nursery on City Road, Norwich, gathered the material from packaging in the school canteen provided by Vertas.

The five and 11-year-olds also picked up single-use plastic, including crisp packets, over a week from the school grounds and surrounding area.

They were inspired by year one teacher Shuna Stevenson, who taught them about the dangers of plastic pollution on the environment.

Miss Stevenson, 36, from Unthank Road in Norwich, said the school wanted to be free of single-use plastic next year and the children wanted a change in policy from Vertas in terms of how it used the material.

Year 1 children at Lakenham Primary School with posters and some of the plastic waste they have been collecting from the school's supplied packed lunches for a week. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYYear 1 children at Lakenham Primary School with posters and some of the plastic waste they have been collecting from the school's supplied packed lunches for a week. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

She said: "We did a litter pick on our playground and found a huge amount of litter. The children wanted to learn more about plastic.

"They started collecting small plastic pots which are single-use. The children were outraged by it. They wanted the school to stop using single-use plastic."

The items, mainly collected from the canteen bin by the youngsters, included pots of cheese and fruit and wrappings from sandwiches and rolls.

They were recycled after the week-long mission.

The school aims to send evidence of single-use plastic provided by Vertas as well as poems written by the pupils about the issue to the company, which has provided catering for the school since April 2017.

Miss Stevenson added: "The children want the company's policies to change. We want plastic to stop being used."

She said: "The children were bewildered and upset about what adults are doing about plastic pollution."

The teacher was "proud" of how the children wanted to spread the message of stopping plastic pollution and encouraging recycling across the wider community.

Caroline Alexander, head of operations at Vertas, said: "Across Vertas we have made great strides to lower environmental impact. We are pleased the children at Lakenham Primary School are looking at the issue of single-use plastic and we would be delighted to work with them on a bespoke solution."

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