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Plastic Free Schools – A pupil-led education programme

Surfers Against Sewage

What is Plastic Free Schools?  

Plastic Free Schools is a programme from the charity, Surfers Against Sewage. It equips young activists with the tools to create positive, lasting environmental change. It teaches pupils that they should never under estimate the power of their voice. It helps the kids and teachers to outsmart the polluters and replace their pointless plastics with something better.  

Plastic Free Schools empowers pupils to make real changes in their school and community. They’ll investigate single-use plastics, find alternatives for the school to use and challenge polluters to change their ways. 

With millions of young activists on board, we can end plastic pollution on our beaches by 2030. 

How does it work?  

Becoming a Plastic Free School takes commitment, creativity, and a serious amount of pupil power. Here’s how it works: 

  1. The school Register your school – Plastic Free Schools – Surfers Against Sewage
  2. We send them a free Plastic Free Schools welcome pack with objective cards, action plans, teacher notes and sacks and gloves for a school clean-up.
  3. They complete the five objectives – from making plans, to making changes, to making a noise the polluters can’t ignore.
  4. They send us updates and photos of their progress.
  5. We make them an official Plastic Free School and send out a plaque to be displayed proudly in the school. 

Why is it important?  

Our aim is to free where we live from single-use plastic – the avoidable stuff that’s everywhere: plastic bottles, sachets, takeaway containers, excessive food packaging. They’re in our schools, our playgrounds, our parks and our streets and they’re having a huge impact on our environment. But we have the power to change this, whoever we are, wherever we live and wherever we go to school.  

We want to help schools say a big fat “NO” to single-use plastics. We want schools where, when it comes to helping the environment, the children will do anything but sit down and be quiet. 

How do I get involved?  

We need your help to make plastic the talk of the playground. 

The programme is completely free and available to all UK based teachers in nursery, primary and secondary education.  

Designed to hit key curriculum and other targets, this programme will support you to empower your pupils to make positive changes for the environment and your school.  

Sign up today

“The Plastic Free Schools programme has helped to raise awareness for the environment across the school in both children and adults. Through working towards the Plastic Free Status, the children have written letters to major polluting companies, lobbied our local MPs and have even visited the Houses of Parliament to deliver letters to the government asking for action on plastic pollution.”  

Trinity St Peter’s C.E. Primary School

Positive pupil power 

Pupils up and down the country are standing tall, making themselves heard, and educating the grown-ups in their communities. Here are a couple of our favourite stories of pupil power: 

Parading against polluting 

While working towards becoming a Plastic Free School, pupils at Clyst St Marys put on a big, creative protest against single-use plastics. They produced a series of vibrant seascapes made from plastics they collected themselves, and peacefully paraded them around their school grounds. 

Sending the environment secretary to school 

Secondary pupils from Redruth School in Cornwall, also on its way to becoming a Plastic Free School, sent letters to their MP and environment secretary George Eustice. They shared their concerns and urged him to take action. He’s now planning to visit the school and meet with the Eco Committee to discuss the issues and how they can work together. 

Who is Surfers Against Sewage? 

We’re a charity of water lovers campaigning to protect the ocean and all it makes possible, by taking action on the ground that triggers change from the top. For people to thrive and live life to the fullest, the ocean must thrive too. And so we need to confront all that threatens it: plastic; sewage; industrial exploitation; climate change. In building and connecting communities of Ocean Activists motivated to make a difference, we gather the evidence and give voice to the issues that hold leaders to account. Today, we’re more than surfers. It’s more than sewage. We’re here because of the ocean. Let’s fight for it.

Together let’s create Plastic Free Schools 

Need any support? Contact us at

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