GET DRASTIC WITH PLASTIC: Alnwick school takes a lead on the environment

A beach cleanA beach clean
A beach clean
Students at an Alnwick school have been getting drastic with plastic and raising awareness about taking care of the environment.

In September, the Duchess’s Community High School set up a conservation club with a group of very keen students who are passionate about raising awareness and promoting the importance of actively taking care of our environment.

A number of projects have being going on this term, including a whole school initiative to collect single-use plastic bottles rather than throw them away with no thought to where they may end up.

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Get Drastic With Plastic, a Northumberland Gazette environmental campaign.Get Drastic With Plastic, a Northumberland Gazette environmental campaign.
Get Drastic With Plastic, a Northumberland Gazette environmental campaign.

The plastic bottles have been made into Christmas trees by sixth form students Lauren Carr and Katy Scott and the conservation club, and are being displayed in school and in the community.

The conservation club also ran a competition in school to design a school conservation logo which will be used on banners to promote awareness, as well as a DCHS bag that has now been created by, based near Stannington.

The final design was put together by Rachel Barrass, from Year 9. She used a number of ideas from the winning competition entries from pupils Tanya Lamb, Morgan Simpson, Dan Carrigan and Maddie Underwood.

These bags are going to go on sale and money raised will support conservation initiatives in the school. Pupils who are going on a trip to the Galapagos Islands in 2020 will also be selling them to support their fund-raising.

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DCHS pupils get drastic with plastic.DCHS pupils get drastic with plastic.
DCHS pupils get drastic with plastic.

The conservation group has also been working on awareness posters and making eco bricks from plastic they have collected which are going to be used to build useful objects such as planters in which they will then grow bee-friendly plants and vegetables.

At the end of this term, students are visiting St Paul’s Primary School to promote their work, working with Years 5 and 6 to make recycled Christmas decorations and a plastic bottle Christmas tree. They will also introduce eco bricks and show students how to make them with the intention of going back to build objects from the eco bricks.

Students have also carried out beach cleans and will have a stall at the Alnwick Garden Christmas market, on Saturday, December 15, selling recycled decorations and sustainable handmade goods.

What you can do

Decorations ready for the Christmas market.Decorations ready for the Christmas market.
Decorations ready for the Christmas market.

Greater awareness and a change in attitudes can reduce plastic waste.

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Since the plastic-bag charge began, a reduction of plastic bags has been found on UK coasts.

We are seeing further commitment and positive steps from the Government and many companies are committing to changing their packaging.

These things combined can have a huge impact. But there some steps that everyone can take, which don’t take up too much time and don’t cost too much - but help to protect our environment. You can:

1. Buy a refillable water bottle;

2. Buy a reusable coffee cup;

3. Say no to plastic straws;

4. Use paper-stemmed cotton buds;

5. Join a beach clean.