Leaders and influencers go back to school to persuade students to say no to plastic

Speakers for Schools, supported by Business in the Community (BITC), Mouvement for Change and the Environment Agency, is teaming up with passionate advocates to inspire young people across the UK to take action against plastic waste.

Launching on World Oceans Day on the 8th June, the Great British Plastics Challenge is a national campaign that will see over 30 leading figures who are helping to shape environmental attitudes in business, politics, culture and society, go back to school to discuss the impact of plastic waste and how they are taking steps to tackle the problem, in the hope to inspire students to join them. This is part of a wider campaign due to be launched at a summit in November and led by BITC, who are working with businesses, communities and experts on how we better manage plastics and other critical resources.

Ambassador speakers supporting the campaign include but are not limited to Sir James Bevan (Chief Executive, Environment Agency), Jeremy Darroch (CEO, Sky Plc and Chairman, Business in the Community), The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Amanda Mackenzie OBE (CEO, Business in the Community), Dougie Poynter (Musician, Author and Activist), Richard Flint (CEO, Yorkshire Water), Tanya Steele (CEO, WWF) and more.

A national challenge will also be launched as part of the campaign asking young people to commit to at least one action this summer and sharing that commitment on social media to encourage others to take action, too. With the help of Mouvement for Change, an LA and London based charity helping tackle important social issues through action-oriented campaigns, they hope to inspire simple, day-to-day actions young people can take to help create change.

The charity is also encouraging campaign speakers to lead by example, by taking part in the challenge too. The challenge includes asking students to join speakers in committing to one of the following:

·         Ditch ‘the big four’: giving up single-use plastics for 2 months (straws, bottles, coffee cups and bags)

·         Take part in a community event: join a local tidy up via their charity partners

·         Influence a local business: ask a local business to stop using plastic straws

Speakers for Schools will be signposting information on organisations such as Keep Britain Tidy, Surfers Against Sewage and more on their website for students, schools and employers linking to events, information packs and resources on how to take part in the challenges in their area.

Over the campaign period, BITC will also be promoting the practical steps and commitments their corporate members are taking to continue to encourage business leaders and companies to join them in long-term plans to tackle the wider waste issue.

Richard Flint, Chief Executive, Yorkshire Water, will be talking as part of this campaign. Under the Yorkshire on Tap banner, the firm has set a target of removing ONE MILLION plastic bottles from circulation over the next three years. The firm has just introduced Refill Yorkshire and is already working with Hull and Sheffield councils to remove plastic bottles from the workplace. Refill Yorkshire will allow local shops the opportunity to add themselves as free water stations in a bid to move consumers away from disposable plastics in favour of free Yorkshire Water refills. A free Refill App is available to download on all App stores allowing businesses to add themselves and allow the public to find their nearest water station.

The challenge will continue into summer and beyond, aiming to give national visibility to the urgent need to address the plastics issue both through practicable actions for students, schools and families, but also to show the role of influential figures in helping inspire and lead this change.

To find out more visit the Speakers for Schools website.