School set to pilot “Last” Anti-Plastic Drive

A new programme is set to be piloted in a North Lanarkshire primary school to inspire the next generation to think about plastic and the environment in a different way.

Tollbrae Primary School has developed the programme with the founders of social enterprise, Last, which aims to end the nation’s reliance on single use plastics. 

The firm helps the public take practical action through its online shop and uses profits to inspire the next generation to take a different approach to life.

The idea is the brainchild of Frightened Rabbit bassist Billy Kennedy and business partner Suzie Bowman who have worked with primary school teacher Joanna Lander to create a pilot project delivered as part of the Curriculum for Excellence.

The schools programme will see lesson plans and teaching resources to help pupils understand the environment and the Earth’s limited resources as well as recognise the impact this has on their lives, the lives of others and wider society.

The pilot is due to kick off in early 2021 and will be evaluated with the intention of building good practice, documenting lessons learned and informing a longer term rollout programme.

Last co-founder, Suzie Bowman, said:

The speed we were getting through plastic in this country is unsustainable and it must stop. We hope to be able to change the way people shop, but to really solve the issue we also need the next generation to understand the environment and their role in protecting it.

Joanna Lander, primary teacher at Tollbrae Primary School, said:

We’re delighted to be working with Billy and Suzie to pilot this new programme which will help our children learn about their place within the environment. Having input from an external company like Last allows us to do something a bit different that will have a big impact.

The world produces over 300 million tonnes of plastic waste every year, 50% of which is for single-use purposes. The UK alone generates 1.26 million tonnes of plastic waste, of which just 46.2% is recycled or reused.  

According to a UK Parliament report, this has a significant negative impact on health as well as on the environment.

Billy Kennedy added:

Single use plastics are simply unsustainable. We looked around at what was stopping people from making changes for the better and the two issues were a lack of choice and a lack of education.

Through our online shop we provide people with that choice and through our profits we will work with schools to bring about lasting change through education. “From the kitchen to the bathroom and when we’re out and about, there are many ways that simple swaps can reduce our own plastic use.

The makeitlast.co website inspires the public to try new things and buy tried and trusted alternatives to single use plastics. Last was supported by the Firstport StartIt fund.


Images taken by Simon Francis.