Resources for Creating Plastic-Free Schools

If you are a student, parent, or educator looking for resources for creating plastic-free schools, you’ve come to the right place! We know that plastics are harmful, especially to young people who are among the most vulnerable to the hormone-disrupting and toxic effects of plastic chemicals. Yet unfortunately, children, teens, and young adults are frequently exposed to plastics. This is especially true at schools, where plastic meal trays, snack and drink packaging, school supplies, and other plastic hazards can seem to be everywhere.

Thankfully, solutions exist today, and many students, educators, and administrators are now showing us it’s possible to create healthier schools without all the plastic. We have compiled a list of Plastic-Free School Resources to assist schools in their transformation. And in this blog, we’ll show you how to best use them!

Resources to Create a Plastic-Free Learning Environment

1. Plastic-Free Campus Manual, from Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN)

Working with Plastic Pollution Coalition and Break Free From Plastic, PLAN has created its Plastic-Free Campus Manual as a resource for college and university students to take action to eliminate single-use plastic on their campuses. The manual shows students how:

  • Switching to plastic-free reusables for everyday plastic items like bottles, bags, and utensils is a great first step, as single-use plastics are among the easiest to replace.
  • Campaigning and education can be a valuable tool for raising awareness within school communities. This may involve developing events, setting up tabling sessions, and launching social media campaigns to recruit students and faculty to take part in the effort to eliminate plastic.
  • There are financial advantages for schools that adopt plastic-free policies. Investing in sustainable alternatives can result in significant savings and improve the financial stability of educational institutions by carrying out cost-benefit analyses and providing long-term funding plans.

By making a free account in PLAN’s online Community Hub, you can easily access the manual and many other resources to help campuses work toward zero-waste solutions, and connect with other communities taking action.

2. Resources for Educators, from the California Coastal Commission

The California Coastal Commission has published a guide full of environmental educational resources specifically for California educators. These resources are meant to help students understand and address key ocean issues, especially plastic pollution, and includes programs and resources, streaming videos, an interagency education network, and events calendar.

3. Trash Academy/La Academia de Basura, from 5 Gyres

Trash Academy/La Academia de Basura is a virtual educational series from 5 Gyres that combines education, advocacy, and community science with the 5 Gyres NGSS-aligned curriculum into a multi-phased educational platform that is available in English and in Spanish. The series is meant to inform and empower students, helping them to understand plastic pollution and how to take action to eliminate plastic from their homes, schools, communities, and on a global scale. Trash Academy/La Academia de Basura is free and open for anyone, anywhere to access.

4. Wayfinder Society Student & Educator Hubs, from Algalita

Algalita has created the Wayfinder Society, an engaging online platform with tools and support for students and educators who are taking action or want to take action to end plastic pollution. The Wayfinder Society provides educational guides, and step-by-step action instructions, student spotlights for inspiration, grant opportunities for projects and plastic pollution education supplies, and more! Signing up for the Wayfinder Society Hub as a student or educator gives access to a wide range of resources and the wider Wayfinder Society community.

Why Plastic-Free Schools Matter

The plastics industry has worked to normalize use of plastic across all aspects of our lives and undermine health risks. In reality, plastics cause a huge amount of harm. Plastics hurt the health of every living being—especially young people who are still growing and developing—throughout every stage of their endless toxic existence, from the extraction of plastics’ fossil fuel ingredients through plastics’ production, transportation, use, and disposal. Eliminating plastics from schools can help reduce the presence of microplastics and toxic plastic chemicals in learning environments—and from the bodies of students, educators, and staff.

Take Action

Ready to reduce and eliminate plastic at your school? The time to act is now, on individual, local, and systems levels. Through joint efforts, we will achieve a future in which plastic pollution becomes history, and people thrive in harmony with nature and each other. Together, let’s build a just, equitable world free of plastic pollution.

In addition to changing the status quo at your school, support systemic solutions to plastic pollution. Tell US representatives and world leaders to support a strong, binding UN Plastics Treaty that ends plastic pollution and injustice—and supports real solutions!


One response to “Resources for Creating Plastic-Free Schools”

  1. Rinku panchal says:

    Yes indeed we should think of reducing plastic uses in to our day to day life

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