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Scheme to reduce plastic in school canteens nets national award

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A pioneering project to reduce the use of plastic in borough school canteens has won a national award.

Dudley Council won the Catering Innovation Award at a national ceremony in Nottingham run by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE).

Left to right: Lisa Holding, Joanne Bishop, Sharon Hodgson MP, Jackie Foster, Julia Nicholls, Chris Mucklow and Helen Coldicott.

Following discussions with pupils concerned at the amount of plastic waste in their schools, the local authority’s catering and cleaning team launched a campaign.

Measures include removing the sale of plastic drinks cartons, bottles and straws and instead offering pupils water or squash in re-usable beakers. Desserts are now also served in re-usable bowls rather than disposable plastic pots.

The team has committed to removing all single-use plastic from use by the end of the year, and the project took first prize in the Catering Award at APSE’s Soft Facilities Management Innovation Awards.

Councillor Ian Kettle, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said:

This is a fantastic project which deserves recognition, so I am delighted the team has been rewarded for their hard work with this prestigious national award.
It was driven by the children themselves, who were concerned about the amount of plastic waste.
But the team deserve great credit for taking it on and running with it, and it is a sign of how far we have come that there will be no plastic waste at all in our school catering service by the end of the year.
That can only be good for the environment, and should be welcomed.

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