NEW ZEALAND

St Peter’s College has implemented many projects with a focus on sustainability this year. They changed the school bin system and then implemented a programme to inform the staff and students of how the new bin system worked. The school reduced waste to landfill by approx. 1.5 tonnes (Feb 2017 vs. Feb 2018).

Students produced a poster using the packaging and products sold by the school tuckshop to inform students as to the correct bin for each type of waste. The school also began the “Adopt-An-Area” programme where each house was given responsibility for a particular area of the school in the effort to keep the school rubbish free.

Students have also begun a project with the school Edmund Rice group. A raised vegetable bed was installed and worm farms purchased using a grant from Auckland Council. The vegetables grown will be donated to the Auckland City Mission.  

Lastly, the school introduced a Golden Ticket promotion: In an attempt to get students to actually notice litter, “Golden Tickets” containing various prizes were hidden around the school at rubbish “hotspots”.

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MALTA

Gozo College Middle School started the Campaign with a clean-up in Gozo where students became more aware of the amounts of litter in the area. Articles about the clean-up were published in local newspapers (see e.g. Times of Malta) and students were invited on local TV programmes. 

The school also focused on how to reduce waste by reusing materials for various items. The students in Year 7 and Year 8 brought used glass jars to be reused in school. These students were involved in making carob syrup and reused glass jars and other items for packaging during the school year. Hardly any new material was used for the whole project in packaging the products produced by the students themselves. Used wooden boxes from shops were used to hold jars in. The packaging was designed by the students themselves making use only of old/used materials.

The eco-school committee has teamed up with all year 7 students and through an entrepreneurship project worked on Green Business with the main aim being that of reducing litter. Recycled materials such as glass jars, milk cartons, tin lids, glass bottles and wood pellets were transformed into innovative useful products.

Last but not least, all students, teachers and school staff were given a free stainless steel travel cup to use instead of disposable cups, both for cold and hot drinks, therefore saving  the production of disposable cups, as well as helping to reduce litter. The travel cups were sponsored by the Litter Less funds.

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NORTHERN IRELAND

National Winners Workshop

The event announced the winners nationally and internationally. The winning videos were played and prizes were presented by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful staff and a Wrigley Representative. The pupils then had a historical and environmental talk about the location of the event, Kilkeel Harbour, and everyone then completed a clean-up at the local beach.

IRELAND

National Winners Workshop

The National Winners workshop was the highlight of the campaign. Students traveled from the whole country to share their ideas and engage in a hands-on workshop.

The workshop and award ceremony was split into four sections over the course of the day with complementary approaches to the litter and waste theme taking place:

  • An introduction to Ireland's new recycling list including an interactive presentation on what the correct materials are to go in to the green recycling bin.
  • A writer's masterclass given by Sylvia Thompson Environmental Features Writer for the Irish Times. 
  • A hands-on workshop on SDG 12 - Sustainable Consumption and Production designed specifically for the YRE Litter Less Campaign and delivered by Valerie Lewis, formerly of Irish Aid.
  • Presentations of the winning articles, videos and photos with presentation of awards by Leah Mullaley of Keeling, the Wrigley representative company in Ireland.

MALTA

Community Action Day

Students from a particular school went to their local open market and started distributing cloth bags (sponsored by money from the Litter Less Campaign) to the people shopping there. They spoke to the shoppers encouraging to BIN THE PLASTIC BAG and shift to reusable bags instead. 

ISRAEL

Community Action Day

As part of Community Action Day, Naamat High school produced postcards with pictures taken by the students as part of the YRE program. On the back of the postcard is an explanation of the image and an invitation to the public to photograph and document environmental protection. The students passed through the city explaining the project and distributing the postcards.

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SPAIN

The National Winners' Workshop

The national winners’ workshop was held on April the 26th at the Gredos San Diego school in Buitrago de Lozoya, a small town located in the Madrid Mountain Range. A total of 134 Eco-School students and Young Reporters participated, among which were the 12 winners in each of the YRE-LLC categories. The workshop began at 11.00 with a didactic hike through the lake and pine forest of Buitrago de Lozoya.

The first activity was the realization of a photographic marathon with the slogan Litter Less Campaign. During the trail the students took photographs of the waste found in the field and were collecting it to deposit it in the containers at the entrance of the park. The monitors carried out a series of environmental education activities and talked on the environmental and patrimonial values of the surrounding environment.

Later, a professional photographer, Pablo Rodriguez (BeOnStudio & Agencia EFE), gave a talk about photojournalism. He explained his own experience as a reporter in various international conflicts and in the making of nature documentaries. He also gave them a brief introduction to how a news agency works and gave a whole series of basic concepts and tips for the realization of photography and video. The workshop was very successful and the students asked him many questions. After the talk, the awards ceremony was held for each group of winning students in each of the categories. The audience could see each of the videos, photos and winning articles and their authors explained their motivations and why they had chosen those topics. The act concluded with the gift, by ADEAC, of the prizes for each of the winning groups.

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WALES

In Wales we had an amazing opportunity to organise a secondary schools event as part of the Volvo Ocean Race Stopover in Cardiff. This is a massive event and the focus this year was marine litter and the devastation it is causing to our oceans. This fitted in extremely well with the YRE Litter Less programme. We decided to organise a Big Schools Day aimed at secondary school Eco-Schools and made the YRE National Winners Workshop a part of that event. This meant that we could promote YRE to a wide audience of secondary schools throughout Wales, YRE participants would be highlighted through the award presentation and the students would be able to participate in a high-profile event. The event consisted of a number of talks and presentations in the morning with a focus around what we can do as individuals to make a difference. It included:

  • The Blowfish - The World's only Heavy Metal Marine Biologist 
  • Daniel Schaffer, CEO of FEE - Highlighted the work of FEE including Eco-Schools and YRE.
  • Joanna Friedli, Training And Development Coordinator at Keep Wales Tidy - Presented the YRE award winners with their certificates and announced that Wales had won the international prize for Article 11-14

In the afternoon, a number of interactive workshops took place including sessions from the Marine Conservation Society, Zero Waste Cardiff, Skye Academy and Matthew Swaine (Course Director of International Journalism at Cardiff University and YRE Jury Member) on 'How to Write and Communicate Your Environmental Story’.

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Article written by the 1st Johnston Scout Group:

‘Scout Group feeling on top of the world’

Despite a 6:30am start, we were all really excited to be travelling to the ‘Big Eco-Schools Day’ at the Volvo Ocean Race in Cardiff on 6th June. This was part of our prize for winning first place in the National Young Reporters for the Environment Litter Less Campaign run by Keep Wales Tidy.

As a Group, we met a few times before the day to talk about the kind of questions we might want to ask some of people speaking there such as the CEO of Foundation for Environmental Education Daniel Schaffer, and heavy metal marine biologist ‘Blowfish’. We arrived at the day with our press passes, notebooks and pens, feeling like proper environmental reporters!

Going up on stage as a team to receive our national award was very rewarding, but we had an even bigger surprise to find out that we had won the International competition too. That was amazing, and so good to know someone was listening to what we were saying about the plight of the gannets on Grassholm.

While we were at the event, we had the opportunity to interview several influential people including Daniel Schaeffer, CEO of the FEE. We asked him how he thought people can best be educated about marine litter, and how we can get older people to care. He said it was very complex, that people have to make a sacrifice, and we need tools and space to sort the problem out. He felt that young people coming to events like the one we were at and getting involved in YRE is important, but that television programmes such as Blue Planet and the news, can be good sources of raising awareness of the issue for adults.

He also acknowledged that consuming fish which have eaten plastic and therefore entering the human food chain is a huge problem.

Educating people about marine litter is very complex, they have to make a sacrifice, and we need tools and space to sort the problem out.” Daniel Schaffer, CEO of FEE.

We also met and interviewed Welsh Assembly Minister for the Environment Hannah Blythyn.  We asked whether she thought the Fishing for Litter scheme could be introduced in Wales. She hadn’t heard of it but said it sounded like a good idea and she may suggest it in the next Assembly meeting. That was great to hear!

We asked her what she thought the government could do to introduce alternative materials other than plastic into the fishing industry. She said she recognises how difficult it might be for fishermen to replace their equipment with something other than plastic but that the Assembly government may be able to look in to alternative materials. We really hope this happens because it could make such a difference to marine life, and especially our gannets on Grassholm.

At the end of the activities and interviews, we had a tour of the village. It was amazing to see all the racing boats and learn a bit about them by going inside a model that had been cut open. It was great to see the Turn the Tide on Plastic boat come sailing in to Cardiff and to think how far they’ve travelled.  There was a huge model whale made out of plastic which was encouraging people to #PassOnPlastic  - we felt really inspired to see that we can make a difference in our everyday lives by using materials other than plastic, and by making sure that things don’t end up in the ocean.

Overall, we had a brilliant day. It was informative, educational and inspiring. To have our hard work and effort rewarded by winning the International competition left us feeling on top of the world! We have lots of ideas for taking forward the practical ways to make a difference to reducing marine litter in our oceans, and can’t wait to tell everyone about that.

NEW ZEALAND

Beeswax wrappers invented by YRE school in New Zealand

Students from Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery school who developed and produced lunch wrappers made from beeswax went to their city’s university to share their ideas and products to encourage others to think about how they can make the packaging in their lunches more sustainable.  The university is considering using and promoting their products to their students.  Another local school which was not involved in YRE this year heard about this initiative and has now introduced a sustainable lunch box programme at their school.  This is a great example of how a great idea can spread throughout a community and grow.

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AUSTRALIA

Baulkham Hills Community Action Day (renamed Recycling Action Day) in Australia

The Recycling Action Day was focused on tackling the issue of recycling and fostering environmental awareness within today’s youth. The event complemented a report released by a group of students for the YRE competition, where they investigated the issue of excessive littering and its correlation with inadequate recycling. The BHHS Green Group then proposed solutions to overcome this issue, focusing on increasing communication to students while also proposing the implementation of a newer, more sophisticated recycling system.  The school believes that these goals can be achieved with greater effectiveness with the Local Council (The Hills Shire Council) and State Governmental support and that through collaboration, we can develop a mindset with sustainability at the forefront of the youth’s goals.

As part of the Recycling Action Day's programme, Baulkham Hills High School made a presentation composed by our students as a part of a seminar from 1:00-2:00 pm, which informed students and community members about the issue and how they plan to overcome it. Students outlined their findings from the research they conducted as part of the YRE competition and the beneficial reverberations of support from organisations such the Hills Shire Council and the NSW Government.  At the Recycling Action Day, students talked about how discourse can prevail towards improving local sustainability for an increasingly environmentally friendly community.

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