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Viridor supports virtual educational eco-tour for pupils

27th May 2020

Viridor is working with community interest company Nurdle, Eco-Schools England and Keep Britain Tidy, to take children on a virtual journey around the South West coastline to help them connect with their local environment, learn about microplastics and how their choices and actions can make a real impact on where they live.

The company has sponsored the development of an educational app, which was launched on Monday, March 25 to an invited audience of 3,000 pupils from 24 Eco-Schools in the South West.

Developed by Nurdle, the invitation only app sets pupils the challenge of travelling with them on their virtual microplastic beach clean of 36 locations over a period of 12 weeks.

The app is a complete resource with a range of features. By clicking on icons pupils have access to the 36 challenge activity sheets and a map of the South West, with links to photographs of the beaches and the hidden Nurdle trommels – the equipment used to collect microplastics – which they must go on a quest to find.

The challenges support pupils in developing a better understanding of how they can rethink their relationship with plastic, in the home, at school and out and about, how they reduce use, reuse as much as possible and then recycle what they do use carefully and effectively.

The app has a knowledge hub with videos, flip books and carefully selected webpages where pupils can locate information to help them with their activities. They answer quizzes, surveys, and polls to enable them to voice their opinions and express their views.  They will be able to photograph their work, write descriptions and upload them to the app.

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Phil Piddington, Managing Director of Viridor, said: “Viridor believes all waste should have a purpose so it can be seen as a resource and not rubbish.  We believe that all plastic, and all material we create, should be kept out of the natural environment and return to a circular economy.  We are pleased to support initiatives like Nurdle’s mobile app, which aims to educate so we can all play our role in protecting and preserving our natural environment. We hope all the schools taking part enjoy these activities which have been designed to help them to meet their Eco-Schools Informing and Involving step and to provide the evidence towards their Eco-Schools Green Flag which accredits excellence in sustainable education.”

At the Rubbish to Resource conference Viridor hosted in Bristol earlier this year, the company outlined its vision for a regional collaboration to give all plastic waste a recycling solution. The company has sponsored microplastic collection to help communities, businesses and schools to keep microplastic out of the natural environment. It has also sponsored 15 trommels, conceptualised and produced by Nurdle, which are being distributed to environmental, community and beach clean groups.

Mr Piddington said: “Education has always been at the heart of our values. Which is why Viridor invests in outreach programmes and on-site learning and visitor centres within some of our facilities, where school pupils and the public can learn more about recycling and resource management. “

The virtual beach clean tour will be run from Nurdle’s mobile app as a 12-week competition which takes pupils on a journey to 35 beaches in the South West. Each challenge will be hosted at a new virtual location starting from Nurdle's home in Croyde and finishing at Viridor’s Avonmouth Circular Economy Resource Park. Pupils will be encouraged to work on the challenge with their families. 

Sylvie Verinder, Co-Director at Nurdle, said: “As a not-for-profit start-up, Viridor’s sponsorship of 15 trommels for donation to beach clean organisations in the South West enabled Nurdle to complete our bigger machine, carry out vital modelling to research microplastic distribution and movement around our coastline, and would have enabled us to complete the real tour of 35 beaches in the South West."  

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Sylvie, pictured above, continued: "Sadly, Covid-19 lockdown stopped this. This further investment in our education offer is testament to Viridor’s genuine commitment to the development of a circular economy for plastics and its recognition that everybody has a part to play. We are grateful and excited and hope that if this initial trial of the learning platform proves successful it can be rolled out to a wider audience.”

The challenges will have practical activities to carry out in the home. The activities will be launched each week, with push notifications from the Nurdle app, as prompts for when a new challenge is available. Each Eco-School approved activity will focus on different settings such as the kitchen, garden, bathroom and the beach. Pupils will need to keep a journey log of the activities they complete and answer a brief survey and opinion poll about the challenge.

The aim of the competition is to gather evidence for Eco-Schools’ Step 5: Informing and Involving, which will help them in meeting the criteria to achieve their Eco-Schools Green Flag.

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Lee Wray-Davies, Manager of Eco Schools England, said: “We are extremely pleased to be working with Viridor and Nurdle to create a new educational app that will help Eco-Schools in the South West on their way to Green Flag. The competition will enable our schools to work on a variety of topics such as Litter, Waste, Marine and Biodiversity as they progress through the Seven Step framework whilst bringing together the wider school community.

"Although this is a competition between schools and pupils, it is also a fantastic opportunity for Eco-Schools from the South West to work together and share best practice beyond the 36 challenges. If just one Eco-School working to tackle micro plastics can make a difference imagine the impact twenty four could have thanks to the app? We can not wait to share and celebrate the results of the 12-week challenge with our 20,000 Eco-Schools from across England.”

The challenge entry judged to have had the most measurable impact will receive a prize for the individual, their class, and the school. Prizes include tickets for a family and friends’ day out, a Nurdle beach clean day trip, and for the school, a fully paid Green Flag subscription worth £250, sponsored by Viridor. The winning school will be announced on 01 October 2020.

Richard McIlwain, Deputy Chief Executive at Keep Britain Tidy, said: “Keep Britain Tidy is working hard to achieve a zero litter and zero waste society. As the charity responsible for managing the largest Eco-Schools network in the world, we understand the importance of ensuring the next generation understands the need to create a more sustainable world and to re-balance our relationship with plastic. The app and associated resources will play an integral role in helping young people see the damage done by plastic pollution and understand the role they can play in preventing it.”

For further information please contact:

pressoffice@viridor.co.uk