☰ Reducing Single Use Plastic Bottles

Reducing Single Use Plastic Bottles

Posted on: October 4th 2019

Reducing Single Use Plastic Bottles

In the last newsletter, it was mentioned that as part of reducing our environmental footprint, the school would be focusing on reduced use of plastics this term. 

Norfolk House is starting by trying to move away from single- use plastic bottles wherever possible. The school won’t be buying any bottled water for use on site, and strongly encourage all our community to do the same when planning for packed lunches, school trips, or even get-togethers like birthday parties or picnics. As you know, all Norfolk House pupils have re-usable drinks bottles, so the school will be talking to them about ensuring they use those wherever possible, to avoid the need to buy single-use water or juice bottles.

Research has shown that when a person knows something is recyclable, they are twice as likely to waste it and throw it away without using it more than once. This is an issue because the energy used, and carbon emitted, in creating the product, are wasted, and also because recycling is very energy-intensive and causes more carbon to be released into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. Furthermore, only a very small percentage of plastic bottles – somewhere in the region of 9% - are actually recycled.

Health-wise, bottled water is not such a good idea either. It is now feared by scientists that bottled water contains higher levels of microplastics than tap water. They do not know what effect these have on a person's health, but alarmingly, statistics suggest people are swallowing the equivalent of a credit card a week. Meanwhile, tap water has been proven to contain at least the same amount, and sometimes more, essential minerals compared to the bottled variety. In addition, it’s virtually free, and doesn’t leave a plastic legacy behind. 

As a school, we are also trying to reduce use of plastic bottles in the cleaning products and soap used. The school buy handwash in bulk and decant it into existing handpumps, and buy the largest available bottles of cleaning products. Together this means that while the school still have to buy in plastic containers, we are buying the least amount of plastic possible for the maximum amount of product. Norfolk House have moved entirely towards getting milk from the milkman - no more plastic milk bottles at school. At home, parents have been telling us that they have been refilling their shampoo, handwash and conditioner bottles at Planet Organic (Muswell Hill) or the Haelan Centre (Crouch End) or have switched to soap bars.  

Thank you for your help in reducing our reliance on single use plastic bottles at school and at home. More tips will follow on reducing other plastics, but meanwhile, any ideas you have are gratefully received. 

Norfolk House School Eco Team

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