Download the CPRE How to Run A Whole School Litter Campaign pack. Please be aware that the pack is quite large and may take a few minutes to download.

Teaching Resources: More excellent teaching resources for this pack including presentations, assemblies and games are avilable at:

Litter Busters: North Lincolnshire Council runs a brilliant project for younger children. Find out more and download the activity booklet from their website.



Before we talk about how you can involve your local school in litter issues, it may help to know a little bit about the Eco-Schools programme which your local school may have completed. If they have done so, it doesn’t mean that they don’t need your help. Quite the opposite – they should be even keener to work with you to tackle the litter problem in the school and the surrounding community. If they haven’t taken part in the Eco-Schools programme, then they should certainly be open to working with you.

The Eco-Schools programme is run throughout the UK and helps primary and secondary schools to become more sustainable. The programme involves nine key environmental topics : water, biodiversity, energy, global perspectives, healthy living, litter, school grounds, transport and waste.

As the Eco-Schools programme comments: “Many schools have a litter problem to some degree. Controlling litter, and making sure that school grounds are cleaned up regularly, is an important priority. A school with a serious litter problem creates complaints from local residents and businesses, is off-putting to visitors, can be demoralising for staff and pupils, can be dangerous (due to broken glass or cans on the playing field) and is breaking the law”

Furthermore : “In terms of the law, all state-funded schools have responsibilities to make sure that their grounds are kept free of litter. Any private individual can take a school to court for having litter in its grounds. A school can be fined up to £2,500 plus a daily fine until the litter is cleared.”

Volunteer groups tend to find it works best to approach working with primary and secondary schools in different ways

  • Some things work fine for both younger and older children, so please don’t let us stop you from trying anything that you think will work and please don’t regard the divisions between primary and secondary schools of the activities suggested below as definitive
  • Please note that children, especially teenagers, tend to understand the term “rubbish” better than “litter”


How to Run a Whole School Litter Programme

CPRE have teamed up with the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust to produce a schools pack for the primary curriculum. The pack focuses on the harmful effects of litter on wildlife.

The pack includes shocking facts about litter, assemblies and displays, how to incorporate the issues into the curriculum, 'King Wastealot's' story and play, and how to take practical and sustainable action.

Their pack is available to download in the right hand bar at the top of the page. If you would like a hard copy of the pack then we suggest that you contact The Wiltshire Wildlife Trust directly.


Secondary Schools

We realise that the secondary school audience can be harder to reach to get the litter message across. We are always keen to hear your stories about working with secondary schools.

Although it is still a good idea to meet the Head Teacher out of courtesy, your way into a secondary school is more likely to be via the teacher who runs environmental studies or who has responsibility for environmental activity and projects in the school – contact the school office to find out who this is. Meet with this teacher to agree the best way to approach the litter issue – it may be :

  1. Running a session in assembly
  2. Meeting with and then, dependent on the outcome of the discussion, working with the students’ environmental group (if there is one) working with students on particular environmental projects which are part of their studies
  3. Another approach

Ideas for a litter session in assembly :

  1. Gain the Head Teacher’s agreement that you quietly collect a sample of litter from the school grounds – go into assembly and dump it onto the floor – explain how long the different items take to biodegrade and how old the students will be (or their children, or their children’s children, etc.) when each item has biodegraded [thank you to Kathryn Britton of Keep Wales Tidy for this suggestion]. It’s probably best to ensure that you keep anything too disgusting from touching the floor directly, but the more disgusting an item is the greater impact it will have !
  2. Do a similar exercise, but spread the litter down one side of the hall, leaving the other side litter-free – which side do the students prefer ?
  3. Make the assembly theme “risk-taking”. Spread a few empty crisp packets around the stage. Are any of the students brave enough to stick their neck out and take a risk ? Who would like to come up and pick up one of the crisp packets ? Hide a £5 note in at least one of the packets and, when all the packets have been picked up, ask the students to look inside them (if they haven’t already done so). You see ? Sometimes it’s worth sticking your neck out and taking a risk, so don’t follow the crowd – put your own litter in the bin, help to pick up other people’s litter and stop them dropping it in the first place [thank you to Robin Kevan aka “Rob The Rubbish” for this idea]
  4. End the assembly by asking those who would be interested in joining a litter-pick of the school grounds to sign up at the school office by end of school today/tomorrow
  5. If an environmental student group already exists in the school, plan an assembly with them as a joint effort – you can use the themes above or any others that they suggest

Ideas for litter studies in a class group :

  1. Survey/mapping of local area – where is the litter and fly-tipping ? where are the litter bins ? when it has been mapped, what would you do to improve the situation ?
  2. Design a new style of litter bin that would work better
  3. Design posters to place around the school to persuade students not to litter
  4. Think of some catchy adverts for notices to convince people not to litter
  5. Make art from litter picked


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