The Great British Plastics Challenge | Speakers for Schools

Combating Plastic Pollution: The Great British Plastics Challenge


UK leaders and influencers are going back into schools to inspire young people to combat plastics waste by taking part in the Great British Plastics Challenge.

Launched on World Oceans Day on the 8th June, the Great British Plastics Challenge was a national campaign in partnership with Business in the Community and the Environment Agency that saw the help of over 30 leading figures to go into schools across the UK to speak about the issue of plastic waste, what their organisation is doing about plastic pollution and their personal commitment to help tackle the plastics issue. These included influential figures shaping environmental attitudes in business, politics, culture and society who took part in school events to help persuade students to join the #PlasticsChallenge.

Leaders from top UK brands and organisations who pledged their support, included but not limited to:

  • Anglian Water
  • Fortnum & Mason
  • Iceland
  • John Lewis Partnership
  • Keep Britain Tidy
  • KPMG
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Thames Water
  • Unilever
  • Veolia
  • Yorkshire Water
  • Walgreens Boots Alliance
  • World Wildlife Fund

Take a look at the list on the right to see some of the ambassador speakers who gave their time to the campaign. Leaders spoke to students about what they or their business are doing about plastic waste, some of whom also pledged to one of the challenges below.

For the full press release and supporting speakers see the main Press Release.

How can I take part in the Great British #PlasticsChallenge?

You can still take part in the #PlasticsChallenge. We are looking for over 3,000 students across the country to take part, with their school, family, friends or on their own. Yes, anyone can do this but we are especially looking for 11-18 year olds to get involved in the below… will you be taking part?

  1. See the challenges below —  share the challenge YOU hope to complete on Twitter or Instagram using #PlasticsChallenge so that your pledge can be counted and tag us!
  2. Use below to find out more about completing a challenge. Each one includes how you can get involved as well as links to helpful resources, other charities and event
  3. If you want to do even more, you can ‘amp up’ your challenge by taking it further – like getting your school involved, influencing a business (like writing a letter)… and much more!

To take part in the challenge, all you have to do is pledge to commit to one of the following and we will be sharing your #PlasticsChallenge with our national network and influencers.

Which will you choose?

CHALLENGE ONE: Say no to the ‘big four’

Give up plastic shopping bags, disposable coffee cups, plastic straws AND plastic bottles for at least 2 months.

  • How: This is mostly about your habits, and remembering to bring re-usable bottles, bags and/or cups where possible.

CHALLENGE TWO: Take action in the community

Take part in an organised beach or street clean up via our affiliated campaign partners or set one up yourself.

  • How: Surfers Against Sewage run community tidy-ups year round which you can search for here—these can be ANY type of beach or public space, so don’t worry if you’re not by the sea. You can also do your very own litter pick locally with a friend or class, but remember you need to share it on Instagram or Twitter using #plasticschallenge for it to count towards this challenge!
  • Amp it up:  Have your teacher register with Eco-Schools at Keep Britain Tidy – a ‘tidy up’ is one of the steps towards your school or college earning a Green Flag. They also run a national Great British Tidy Up each spring!

CHALLENGE THREE: Influence a local business

Persuade a local business (café, restaurant) to say no to single-use plastic straws.

  • How? We have a short PDF here on how to do this!
  • Amp it up:  Did you know Surfers Against Sewage (  have a whole pack on how to be a Plastic Free Community Leader? This includes writing to local businesses and politicians, and other ways you can ‘join the resistance’! 

Who else can get involved

Everyone can be apart of the above challenges — teachers, professionals, families — but if you are looking to get your organisation involved do see below!


Schools, Academies & Colleges

First of all, your teachers are encouraged to take part in the above too! But if you are looking for a school-wide project, see the below:

  • Eco-Schools a project of Keep Britain Tidy – A global initiative giving students the chance to learn about their community and environment, with student-led projects helping their schools earn a Green Flag!
  • Wastebuster – Projects, classroom resources and challenges to help Primary School aged students understand waste issues and empower them to help change their environment for the better.
  • Surfers Against Sewage – In addition to beach cleans and community action, SAS are enlisting schools like yours to be Plastic Free Schools!


Employers in all sectors will play a major role in affecting change when it comes to reducing plastic waste. To get involved with the #PlasticsChallenge:

  • Share: If your business is already taking action on the plastics issue, share your support, approach and photos on LinkedIn and Twitter using #PlasticsChallenge — from new products to internal moves towards a plastic-free office, we want to share these to inspire even more businesses!
  • Join: Visit Business in the Community’s website for more information and guidance on how your organisation can break up with plastic and be a part of their long-term work with leading companies across the UK.

Individuals, Families & All

Already helping spread the word and taking part in the above? Here are some other great organisations and projects that are helping tackle waste pollution:

  • City to Sea – A community interest company dedicated to preventing plastic pollution at the source. They have some innovative schemes on their website about reducing plastic waste such as:
  • ReFill – A national scheme to install water refill points across to country. Download your app to find the refill stations!
  • Green Redeem – Sign up to the app and earn points when you recyle, save water or do something ‘green’. You can redeem your points for discounts and prizes!

Follow the #PlasticsChallenge on Twitter and Instagram!

Don’t forget, if you’re taking part in the challenge to use the #PlasticsChallenge – otherwise your pledge won’t be counted!