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No Plastic, a homemade eco food wrap. The community donates cotton, the PTA members cut it to size and the children dip it into donated Dorset beeswax. Selling this product has raised more than £4,500 to fund the creation of a school pond. At the pupils’ request, we also introduced Damers First stainless steel water bottles, which sell well across the community. The result is that nearly all


single-use plastics have been eliminated at Damers. We have won four awards for ‘Best School Product’ in the Young Enterprise Fiver Challenge for Waxtastic No Plastic. We were also awarded ‘Outstanding Group of the Year’ at the Jane Goodall Roots & Shoots awards. Last year, the eco crew went to


Westminster to question the then environment minister Michael Gove on his plans for tackling litter. They presented him with their ‘golden rules’ for the deposit recycle scheme, suggesting that every bottle and can


should be included. Having achieved Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free School status in May 2018, we were recently crowned SAS’s National Champion. The judges, who included Ben Fogle and Turning the Tide on Plastic author, Lucy Siegle, were amazed by the work we have done to reduce plastic in school, locally and across the UK. Damers First has also signed up


with TerraCycle, which partners with individual collectors to combat waste by recycling the ‘non-recyclable’. We’re now a community collection point for a whole range of recycling, including biscuit wrappers, sweet bags, crisp packets, batteries, water filters, pens, beauty product containers, ink cartridges and printer toners. Our local Waitrose and post office collect on our behalf and the WI volunteers help sort and send off the recycling. We earn about £750 a year this way. The money goes into our eco work and outside space – we recently created a bird hide. Eco is now embedded into


here before they were transferred to our raised beds, and in a way it sowed the seeds of later campaigns. In 2017, the school moved to a new


site with planned garden space. The campaign to reduce plastic started with the eco crew organising a litter pick and making an audit of single- use plastic in school. Every pupil made a pledge about what plastic they would remove and what alternatives they could use, for example reusable food containers, having a waste-free lunch, refusing plastic straws, and using stainless steel or wooden cutlery. The children asked Damers PTA for


its support, particularly in ensuring that school events were plastic-free. They wrote to suppliers asking if products could come to school free of single-use plastics. One business agreed to send fruit


in cardboard boxes, and another delivered milk in glass bottles with reusable beakers. The children also asked the school, parents and staff to give up three single-use plastics in their home and at school. We thought about alternatives too, and came up with our own Waxtastic


FundEd SPRING 2020 29


‘Selling our homemade Waxtastic No Plastic


wraps has raised more than £4,500 for a school pond’


everything we do, both within and beyond the curriculum, which fits with Ofsted’s desire to see more environmental work in schools. I’m inundated by requests from schools and businesses to help them reduce plastics. Most importantly, every child at Damers understands that their actions can make a difference to the quality of the environment for everyone.


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