Pupils from 12 Southend Primary Schools took on the special Christmas food waste challenge to make sure their food waste was recycled and not upstaged by the festivities.
The challenge encouraged families to pledge to recycle their food waste in their blue food waste bins instead of disposing of it in black refuse sacks, which are sent to landfill.
Pupils were also tested for their recycling knowledge and kept food waste diaries. Taking part gave them the chance to win vouchers worth £100, and the challenge also encouraged participants to design eye-catching food waste posters to be displayed on food waste collection vehicles.
Winners were selected by the Worshipful the Mayor of Southend, Councillor Sally Carr. They were Jessica Neife, eight, from Chalkwell Hall School, who won the six to eight year old category, and the runner-up was Ben Carter, eight, from West Leigh Junior School. West Leigh Juniors also saw Rachel Travers, 11, win the nine to 11 year old category, with Zack Walker, nine, as a runner up.
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Executive Councillor for Public Protection, Waste and Transport, Councillor Tony Cox said: “It was encouraging to see how many pupils volunteered for the challenge, and - with help from their families - conscientiously recycled their food waste”. “Alongside the Challenge, several schools received food waste assemblies and workshops to help raise food waste awareness. “The pupils have learnt about where our food comes from, the amount of waste that is generated and how to manage food waste through the three Rs of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.”
At Chalkwell Hall Junior School, pupils from years three and four said how much they had enjoyed the workshops, adding: “At first I didn’t know much about food waste but because you came in I know a lot more than I used to know. It was fun making smoothies. They were yummy.”
For the second year now, Southend’s primary schools have also been participating in waste and recycling workshops carried out by Waste Watch, part of Keep Britain Tidy. The sessions encourage waste minimisation and end with the pupils coming up with their own campaign to encourage waste reduction, re-use and recycling.
The residents of Southend have already diverted 48 per cent of their waste away from landfill and put it to good use through recycling, and these activities encourage children to help increase that effort.
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