Education Authority Launches Plastic Waste in Schools Competition

The Education Authority (EA) in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful (KNIB), Eco Schools has launched a Plastic Waste in Schools Competition which invites Key Stage 2 (P5 to P7) and Key Stage 3 (Year 8 to Year 10) school pupils to investigate the use of single-use plastics in their school.


Participating schools will be required to audit, monitor, and analyse the differing types of plastic that come into their school environment, explore what their primary uses are, look at how plastics are managed and consider what happens to these plastics after use.


Entrants will be invited to propose innovative solutions for the re-use of plastic to avoid disposal or identify how they might help to eliminate any or all single-use plastics in their school environment.


Participating schools will submit a written article and / or short video production, no longer than three minutes in length to EA, reporting their findings and proposed solutions.


John Coney, EA Energy and Environment Officer said:


“EA is delighted to be working in partnership with the Department of Education (DE), DAERA and KNIB, Eco Schools to launch the Plastic Waste in Schools Competition.


The purpose of the competition is to encourage plastic waste reduction in the school community. The competition will challenge children and young people to identify the extent of plastic waste in individual school settings and explore developing innovative solutions to minimise or eliminate this waste entirely.


EA maintains an ongoing focus on its environmental responsibilities and the competition allows children and young people to play their part.”


Colin Breen, Head of the Single-Use Plastic, Waste Prevention and Waste Recycling Policy Team, DAERA said:


“The Department is delighted to be supporting the Plastic Waste in Schools Competition. Over recent months everyone has been made even more aware of the damaging impact of plastic in the environment and this is particularly acute with single-use plastics, which are used only once before being discarded.


The equivalent of a lorry load of plastic ends up in the oceans every minute and studies have shown that 50% of the rubbish washed up on European beaches is single-use plastic with the majority of that coming from our towns and cities.


I look forward to all of the creative and innovative ideas that will flow from all of the school children who get involved in this competition.”


Ruth Van Ry, Environmental Education Manager, KNIB, Eco Schools:


“This competition is great way for schools to really engage with the important issue of waste and for pupils to really get down to the nitty-gritty of what is happening with their school rubbish.


We are always amazed at the innovative solutions presented by young people to real world problems and would encourage every school to use this competition as part of their Eco-Schools Green Flag actions.”


There will be two separate Plastic Waste in Schools Competition categories, a KS2 primary category for P5 to P7’s and a KS3 post primary schools category for Year 8 to Year 10’s.


Monetary prizes will be awarded to schools placed 1st (£500), 2nd (£300) and 3rd (£200) in each of the KS2 and KS3 categories sponsored by DAERA and Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful (KNIB), Eco Schools.


Schools can submit their competition entry by the closing date of Wednesday 17 April 2019 by emailing


Competition entries will be reviewed by a panel which consists of representatives from EA, DAERA and KNIB, Eco Schools. Winners will be notified by EA on Friday 3 May 2019.


Further information about the competition and requirements can be found on the EA website at -

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