Headmaster to ban plastic bottles in Brighton school

Richard Cairns, headmaster at Brighton College
Richard Cairns, headmaster at Brighton College

A Brighton headmaster said he will 'treat plastic bottles in school in the same way as cigarettes' – with a ban and sanctions if rules are broken.

Richard Cairns, headmaster at private school Brighton College, will tell an education conference held at the school tomorrow (May 10) that he will ban anyone from bringing plastic water bottles, plastic straws or non-biodegradable cups on site – including teachers and support staff.

Brighton College is to ban plastic bottles

Brighton College is to ban plastic bottles

He said: “We will treat plastic bottles, straws and non-biodegradable cups as anti-social, in the same way that for decades we have banned cigarettes.

"Initially, we will enforce the changes with a system of formal warnings for pupils breaking the rules but there is also the appetite, if it proves necessary, to use sanctions – in large part, because the potential for sanctions highlights the significance of the issue.”

Mr Cairns said the move comes after sixth formers at the school started a campaign to reduce the use of plastic following the BBC’s Blue Planet series.

He said: “Many pupils were really shaken by the terrible images on David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2 of marine animals being strangled by plastic.

"In 2016, more than 480 billion plastic drinking bottles were sold across the world, with millions ending up in our oceans. A recent survey by Plymouth University found that plastic was found in a third of all UK-caught fish, and the effect on humans of eating fish containing this plastic is still largely unknown.”

The school is set to install additional water fountains and purchase refillable bottles for pupils.

Mr Cairns is also set to discuss the use of diesel in school buses, and will call on motor manufacturers to focus on producing electric vehicles for schools.

He said he had not ruled out eventually banning teachers and parents with diesel cars from driving onto the site.

He said: “We are incentivising the drivers of electric or hybrid cars by installing electric chargers in our school car park.”