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26 May 2017

Council commissions ‘Rubbish Rebels’ challenge in county schools to reduce waste in Cumbria

Pupils and their families from 20 schools across Cumbria are rebelling against rubbish in a bid to reduce waste in the county - and win prizes.

The Rubbish Rebels Challenge - commissioned by Cumbria County Council and delivered by Penrith-based charity Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS) - sees pupils, staff and parents making pledges for how they’ll reduce waste at home and school. Each pledge earns points for the school, with prizes to be won.

The challenge begins with a new interactive workshop at each school, exploring why waste should be reduced and how to go about it. Groups of children in years four and five have been attending the sessions, which have been created and delivered by CAfS on behalf of Cumbria County Council.

Frankie O’Keeffe from CAfS has been running some of the workshops. Frankie said:

“As well as the chance to win prizes, everyone who takes part also has the reward of knowing they’re making a difference to reducing waste across the county.”

St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School and Beaconside Church of England Primary School were the first two schools to take part and help pilot the new scheme.

Angela Hill, head teacher at St Catherine’s, said:

“We’ve found that Rubbish Rebels is a great way to reinforce our ‘Taking Care of the World’ learning. The scheme is giving the children a way to put what they learn into practice - not just at school but at home too. The children really enjoyed the workshop and also the chance to create a presentation and deliver it at a school assembly afterwards.”

Nick Page, head teacher at Beaconside, said:

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for the children to understand the importance of recycling and reusing through practical activities.  It’s fun, interactive and encourages the children to spread the word!”

Hazel Graham, CAfS chief executive, said:

“CAfS aims to drive a shift towards a zero-carbon Cumbria and we’ve been running all sorts of projects to help Cumbrians live in a more sustainable way for almost 20 years, but this is the first inter-school competition we’ve run. It’s an exciting project for us because reducing waste is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to reducing Cumbria’s carbon footprint. That’s because collecting and processing waste causes CO2 emissions, contributing to the changes we’re now seeing in our climate.”

Cumbria County Council commissioned the scheme as part of their strategy to reduce waste and increase recycling in the county.

Nick Wright, the council’s lead officer for waste prevention, said:

“Encouraging Cumbrian householders to reduce, reuse and recycle is a really important goal for the council. Cumbria produces a lot of rubbish and the treatment of that rubbish comes at a huge cost - both financially and environmentally. To help reduce the waste burden, we work with schools, community groups and individual householders through fun and innovative campaigns and projects encouraging them to see things as resources rather than just rubbish.  The Rubbish Rebels scheme gets families involved and it gives them a way to take actions that could add up to a big reduction in the waste generated in Cumbria.”

Any schools interested in taking part should contact Frankie O’ Keeffe on 01768 210276 or email frankie@cafs.org.uk.

Pupils and their families from 20 schools across Cumbria are rebelling against rubbish in a bid to reduce waste in the county – and win prizes.