Meadowfield Primary School's Committment to Plastic Transition
Posted 16th November 2023
Five years ago, during an assembly, the children of Meadowfield Primary School saw a photograph of a juvenile sperm whale. The whale had been found dead on a beach in Spain and the autopsy that followed found a staggering 64 pounds of plastic inside its stomach.
Despite the upsetting nature of the picture shared with the children, it turned out to be the start of something quite special at Meadowfield Primary School. Staff and students developed an Eco Vision and Strategy and have since worked hard to be more environmentally friendly and to raise awareness of the harmful effects of plastic.
Within a few weeks of seeing the shocking photo, Meadowfield Primary School Learning Assistant, Mrs Ullyart, had set up Plastic Fantastic: a group of children and adults, working together to reduce the amount of single-use plastic from school going into landfill.
Six months later, the group had collectively made a 100+ eco-bricks. Eco-bricks are PET bottles packed solid with clean and dry used plastic, creating reusable building blocks. This process of Plastic Transition keeps plastic from degrading into toxins and microplastics and out of high-energy, high-emission industrial processes.
Meadowfield Primary School developed a partnership with Leeds Art School to build indoor and outdoor furniture with their eco-bricks and held their first Plastic Party to help raise awareness of the issue.
Five years on and Meadowfield Primary School has a well-established and busy Green Team. They are a group of 15 pupils, aged 7-11, who embrace each task with energy and enthusiasm. They are passionate about improving their community and willingly donate their time, both at home and within school, to bring about positive environmental change.
As a team, they Recycle, Reduce and Reuse whenever possible (batteries, pens, glue sticks, books, single use plastic, even chicken poo!) whilst encouraging others to do the same. They litter-pick, they re-wild fields, they create art from recycled materials and they give away school uniform for free. And that is just for starters!
Headteacher of Meadowfield Primary School, Mrs Helen Stout comments, “Mrs Ulyart and her Green Team have instigated so many positive changes in our community. Their ideas are impressive, their commitment to change is inspiring, but most worthy of note, is their ability to weave sustainability into the fabric of their school; our children should be very proud of all they have achieved.”
Meadowfield Primary School is part of Red Kite Learning Trust, a multi-academy trust of 14 schools across North and West Yorkshire. Director of Estates at Red Kite Learning Trust, Samantha Shuttleworth, comments, “Our Trust is committed to sustainability, so it is fantastic to see the work our children at Meadowfield Primary School have been doing. We are so proud of the pupils who make up the School Councils, Eco-Committees and Eco-Clubs in all our schools, who collaborate and work together to implement climate friendly initiatives. Great strides have been made this year and we will continue to prioritise sustainability into the future, with more recycling initiatives already planned to be rolled out across all our schools. Well done Meadowfield Green Team!”