Blogs and News - St George's School, Edinburgh

07 Nov 2019
Top Tips for Reducing Single-Use Plastic

Plastic waste

Recently, in the Upper School, the Eco group hosted an assembly to highlight the damage that single-use plastic is doing to our planet. The tide of plastic continues to rise and the extent of its reach is shocking, from the highest peaks to the deepest trenches, it is relentless. In this present day, across the world, one million plastic bottles are purchased every minute and used for only a few minutes before being discarded. Despite being made of recyclable material, 90% of them are not recycled. In fact, only 9% of all plastics are recycled meaning they end up in landfill sites taking between 50-1,000 years to degrade. A large amount of plastic does not even end up in landfill. Instead it drifts into rivers and seas where it is broken down into smaller pieces known as microplastics. Sadly, it is estimated that there are fifteen to fifty trillion individual pieces of microplastics in the ocean being ingested and killing marine life, and every piece slowly makes its way up the food chain.

It is estimated, on average, St George’s uses 2,000 plastic cups daily. In order to improve our environmental footprint within the St George’s community, the Eco group have pledged to reduce single-use plastic by removing plastic drinking cups. Students have instead been encouraged to carry a reusable water bottle with them.

Here are their Top Tips for reducing Single-Use Plastic:

Individual Action

  • Always carry a reusable shopping bag with you
  • Buy loose fruit/veg and avoid using individual plastic bags
  • Say ‘no’ to single-use plastic cups and cutlery
  • Bring a reusable water bottle and refill at water stations
  • Carry a travel mug for hot drinks instead of single-use cups
  • Replace shower gel and shampoo bottles with solid bars of soap/shampoo instead
  • Use retailers such as Eco Larder to refill dried goods such as pasta, rice, lentils, etc


  • Stop supplying single-use plastic cups or polystyrene
  • Purchase Vegware recycle cups instead
  • Sell workplace or school-branded travel mugs/water bottles
  • Use large, refillable dispensers for sauces and products in canteens and stop supplying single-use sachets.

Global Action

  • Join the Citizen’s Assembly which will meet in the UK next year. Climate Assembly UK will meet from January 2020 to focus on environmental issues and climate change.
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