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Students tackle landfill by starting with lunch boxes

Year 5 students in the Environmental Team

This week, Meriden Junior School girls will make a special effort to reduce waste, particularly single-use plastic, with the introduction of “Waste-Free Week”. The campaign has been spearheaded by students Mikayla Rodger, Olivia Kim and Year 5 girls in the Environmental Team with the conscientious girls leading the movement to protect the planet from unnecessary waste.

Year 5 student, Mai Chu, said she and her peers were encouraging environmental awareness amongst all Meriden girls by showing them how they can make small but important changes to their daily lives.

“Waste-Free Week reminds everyone in the Junior School to avoid plastic wrappers in lunchboxes by using reusable containers to store food or wrapping leftovers in beeswax cloths,” said Mai.

“You can also reduce waste by buying one big packet of chips, for example, and then dividing it into small containers to reduce the amount of plastic that is being thrown in the bin.”

The girls in the Environmental Team meet three times per week to discuss different eco-friendly initiatives and to contribute to the Junior School recycling program, collecting paper recycling from each classroom. In the lead-up to Waste-Free Week, the Environmental Team has been placing special bins around the School to collect plastic bottles, so they can be properly recycled. The girls have also presented workshops to each class in the Junior School, explaining the concept of Waste-Free Week and providing students with strategies that can help them take part in the initiative.

Vienna Korkis, Year 5, said she was confident that the Junior School’s Waste-Free Week would affect positive change on the environment.

“I hope the girls realise how much impact their actions have,” she said.

“Lots of people probably think, ‘It’s just one piece of rubbish and I’m not littering, I’m putting it in the bin,’ but the fact is, that rubbish goes to landfill and it never breaks down. If we continue throwing things away the way we have been, in around seven years, our areas of landfill will be completely filled. I hope that Waste-Free Week helps girls understand that it’s easy to make environmentally-friendly changes and I hope that they will keep going with those changes when the week is over.”

Dr Michele Benn, Head of Junior School, praised the work of the Environmental Team. She said all Meriden girls are supported by the School to proactively engage with the issues affecting their local and broader communities.

“Encouraging students to have a sense responsible citizenship towards other people and the environment is a component of the Fidelis Model, Meriden’s framework for learning,” Dr Benn said.

“We aim to help students develop strategies to create and practise strategies for sustainability within and beyond the Junior School campuses.”

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