Stow Primary’s sustainability message positively disrupts community

Stow, primary, school

Published: Monday, 17th September 2018

Around 150 people attend two events hosted by a Borders primary school which aimed to change behaviour towards single use items in their community.

The events on Thursday 13 and Friday 14 September, was hosted by Stow Primary’s 100 Disrupters Group, with each class presenting actions they have undertaken to improve sustainability and help the local environment.

What is a Disrupters project?

The school was one of 119 groups and individuals awarded funding through 100 Disrupters – a competition from The Hunter Foundation (THF) open to young people up to the age of 26 who are "positively disrupting" Scotland.

The competition was set up to support the Year of Young People in Scotland. Those chosen received a grant of £1,000 from THF to help them realise their ambition.

What did the school do as part of the project?

  • Being the first school in Scotland to use a reverse vending machine which gives out money for return plastic bottles
  • Plastic spoons in the canteen being swapped for metal
  • Requesting reusable plastic water bottles and litter pickers provided to pupils by parent council
  • Taking part in a local beach clean and clean-up around the school with Surfers Against Sewage
  • Meeting the Tweed Foundation to discuss the impact of single use plastics on the local river system
  • Contacting us and NHS Borders around importance of reducing the use of plastic items
  • Creating Reece the Recycled Cow from Stow from recycled materials

Stow Primary Principal Teacher Debbie Matthewson

“This has been a hugely educational project for the pupils to take part in which we extended due to the interest from the children.

"The children recognised that as a society we are responsible for the problems around single use plastic and as such it is also our responsibility to turn that around and makes changes.

“We were delighted with the positive response from the community to our two events and we have managed to change opinions about single use items and the importance of sustainability.”

Councillor Carol Hamilton, our Executive Member for Children and Young People

“It is fantastic to see Stow Primary carry out so many positive actions as part of the 100 Disrupters project, including finding out about Scotland’s first reverse vending machine, helping to stop the use of plastic spoons in their canteen and helping to maintain their local environment through clean up events.

“I hope the wider community were inspired by the action of their young people to change their own behaviours around sustainability.”

Councillor Gordon Edgar, our Energy Efficiency Champion

“It is vital we look to use more recyclable items which is why this Disrupters project is so worthwhile.

“As a Council, we are making efforts to reduce our environmental impact, delivering our services with a considerably smaller carbon footprint, and have been involved in major energy saving projects.

"These include the LED streetlighting scheme, the use of solar panels on some of our buildings, the increased number of electric vehicle charging points and new pilot project Change Works in Peebles, which is working with residents and businesses to reduce energy use in the town.”

More information

Images are available from our Flickr page.

A video made by the school is available at our YouTube channel.