A plan has been proposed by Llanidloes Primary School’s Eco Committee to change the way free milk for children is delivered in order to reduce the amount of plastic used and bring about a cost reduction.
Montgomeryshire MS, Russell George, met with children from Llanidloes Primary School, Belle, Reggie, Millie and Willow, who are members of the school's eco-committee to discuss their plans to reduce plastic waste when it comes to the provision of school milk.
The pupils detailed to Mr George that they receive 78 individual small plastic bottles of milk each day as part of a UK-wide scheme, which is part funded also by the Welsh Government. The young pupils went on to explain that the school uses 15,210 plastic milk containers each year with at a cost of £5,171.40.
The children explained that if the milk was purchased in larger bottles locally, the difference in plastic used each year would equate to 3 times the weight of their teacher Mrs Stead. Additionally, in terms of environmental benefit, there would be a 50% financial saving if re-usable cups were used at the school.
The pupils had turned to Mr George to ask for his help. Mr George who was so impressed by the pupils innovative thinking and resolve said he would raise their proposal with the First Minister, Mark Drakeford MS
Following raising the children’s proposal during questions in the Senedd to the First Minister this week (20th June), Mr George said:
‘I was very impressed by the children’s creative thinking and attitude to creating a more cost-effective way of doing things and by their commitment to being environmentally friendly. The children even went as far as considering that there would be a resource required in washing the reusable cups as well.
They've met with the local authority and others, but they felt like obstacles were being put in place of their proposals, and they told me that they felt like they were in a maze and were stuck in the same parts of the maze and couldn’t get out.
I was determined to take this idea to the First Minister and ask for his officials to work with the children and school, to consider running a pilot project, because, after all, there could be a huge saving in plastic use, and also, a huge cost saving.
This is a brilliant proposal put forward to me by Belle, Reggie, Millie and Willow, that could be environmentally friendly, and save a great deal of money.’
In response to the Question from Russell George MS, the First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
‘That is a remarkable combination of problem-solving skills that we saw from the students at Llanidloes. I'm very pleased to agree that we will find someone to talk directly to the school, and, indeed, to the children, to see whether their ideas can find a further way into practical action.’