Windsor

GECDSB to phase out single-use plastics

The Greater Essex County District School Board is phasing out single-use plastics — thanks to a couple of grade school girls who pushed for change in the spring.

'We realized there are probably some things we can do right away' says board chair

The Greater Essex County District School Board is phasing out single-use plastics — thanks to a couple of grade school girls who pushed for change in the spring. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

The Greater Essex County District School Board is phasing out single-use plastics — thanks to a couple of grade school girls who pushed for change in the spring.

"We realized there are probably some things we can do right away," said board chair Jessica Sartori. "One thing mentioned the night of the vote is to get rid of plastic cutlery."

Darragh Aston, a grade eight student who proposed the change, said she's very excited the board has come on board.

"They actually want to make change in the school," said Aston. "The school produces a lot of plastic. We can change things to biodegradable ... there's a lot of alternatives."

Darragh Aston is one of two students who proposed a ban on single-use plastics for the Greater Essex County District School Board. (Tom Addison/CBC)

The students made a presentation to the board in May, and the GECDSB trustees asked administration for a report. At last week's board meeting, the plan to phase out single-use plastics was approved. A committee will be formed to work out logistics.

The board agreed to establish a "single-use reduction committee" to develop a phased-in strategy over the next three years. The committee will target the most "problematic" single-use plastics in their strategy. A school and community awareness program will also be developed. 

An earlier assessment identified a broad range of single-use plastic items including sandwich bags, garbage bags, plastic cutlery, pump soap dispensers and food packaging. 

Addiyson Walker, the other student behind the campaign, even makes sure her family is avoiding single-use plastics at home, never using plastic wrap or plastic water bottles. 

Addyson Walker is one of two students who proposed a ban on single-use plastics for the Greater Essex County District School Board. (Tom Addison/CBC)

Aston said she's even got her grandmother carrying a metal straw now.

The Anderdon Public School students said Windsor is next on their list, following towns in Essex county who have started moving toward a ban on single-use plastics. 

The students and school board chair Jessica Sartori were on Windsor Morning. Listen to the full interview here:

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