Glentunnel Eco-Warriors


The Year 3-4 class at Glentunnel School have been looking at the effects of single use plastics on our environment. After watching a video and seeing animals dying the students decided they could make a difference.

Our first project was to make beeswax food wraps to replace plastic wrap in lunchboxes. At the moment 90% of the class has zero plastic in their lunchboxes. Our entrepreneurial students wanted to do more and decided that they could sell these. As a class we decided we could have a stall at the Hororata Night Glow. We are calling it “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and REFUSE plastic.”

There are easy things we can all do to reduce the amount of plastic waste in our environment. We all need to re-think what we buy. Using bars of soap rather than plastic bottles filled with liquid soap, using bamboo toothbrushes, cotton buds and clothes pegs, and buying food in glass bottles and tins rather than plastic. Our stall is not just about raising money for the School, it is about educating people. A lady from Eco-educate came in and taught us about recycling and made us aware of how much waste goes to landfill. So much of this waste can be recycled, reused or composted. She showed us how to reuse items like soft toys and t-shirts to make other things. She also taught us about the power of worm farms. We want to pass on this knowledge.

Another initiative at Glentunnel School is Zero Waste Thursdays. The Year 3-4 class is running a competition to try to reduce the amount of plastic waste in lunchboxes across the School. Each Thursday every child’s lunchbox is checked. The winning class, the class with the least amount of plastic, receives some easy homemade snacks made by the class, (recipes are also published in the newsletter). These are to encourage parents to make lunchbox snacks rather than buying expensive individually wrapped muesli bars and biscuits.

Before the competition started, every child was given a reusable sandwich bag made by the students (and some parents) and information about how to have a zero waste lunch box.

It is inspiring to see the next generation being so aware and pro-active. I have had students talking to managers in restaurants requesting they get rid of plastic straws. The following week when they returned, the restaurant was using paper straws.

As a society we can change our thinking and start refusing to buy items with excessive plastic packaging and hopefully people can be more aware about how and what to recycle.

Did you know that anything that is not clean in the recycling bin goes to landfill? Every household should be composting food and green waste. People need to be thinking about buying second hand rather than new and trying to fix items rather than throwing them away.

Anyone going to the Hororata Night Glow, can come to visit our stall and support our passionate young eco-warriors.


Dana Sutherland, Teacher at Glentunnel School.