Primary schools recognised for going green and boosting the nation’s recycling

Primary schools in the District have been rewarded for their commitment to recycling as part of a recycling rewards scheme.

Braintree District Council received special funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) in 2015 especially to deliver a food recycling collection scheme to encourage young people to start the recycling habit early in life and become avid recyclers.

The funding allowed the opportunity to devise a competition offering a choice of prizes to the schools that performed the best. Teachers could also give clean plate awards to the children who ate everything on their plate. 

St John The Baptist C.E.V.A Primary School in Pebmarsh was named the ‘Best Performing School’ for reducing their refuse the most and increasing their food waste recycling.

The ‘Super Recycling School’ award went to Powers Hall Infant School in Witham for going the extra mile and undertaking further activities such as composting, growing harvest to cook and eat, as well as collecting paper, cardboard and unwanted shoes and clothes.

Both schools will receive a contribution towards their choice of four prizes:

  • Outdoors and play equipment made of recycled materials;
  • Plants, seeds and support from the Braintree District Council horticultural team to grow their own food;
  • Visits to recycling plants;
  • Books for the school library.

All the 26 schools that participated will receive £500 and a certificate for their recycling efforts.

Councillor Wendy Schmitt, Cabinet Member for Environment and Place, said: “This is a great opportunity to inform and educate the next generation about the importance of recycling and reducing waste, as well as encouraging them to take on good recycling habits, as it will help them build a better future for them and their children. We want everyone to rise to the challenge and recycle more and minimize the amount of waste produced as this will continue to make a real difference in helping conserve and protect the environment.”

Councillor Simon Walsh, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste, said: “"May I congratulate all of those schools, teachers and pupils that took part in this recycling initiative. It is important to encourage young people to recognise the value of recycling and reusing items which might have once been binned and sent to the tip. In doing so the message gets back to their homes, which in turn can help improve recycling across the County. I am very encouraged by the results of this initiative, and applaud the many innovative projects the schools have developed. All of the awards are well deserved and each recipient should be especially proud of their efforts."

Karen de Pietro, Headteacher at St John The Baptist, said: "We are absolutely delighted to have won this prestigious award. The pupils and staff are dedicated to recycling in order to reduce waste and therefore avoid the negative impact on our environment. The prize money will be used to help us continue our recycling plan at St John the Baptist CE VA Primary School."

Claire Jaques, Headteacher at Powers Hall Infant School, said: "We are delighted that all of the children's efforts in reducing, reusing and recycling their waste has been recognised by the 'Super Recycling School' award. We will be using our prize money to buy some more benches made from recycled plastic for the school playground."

For more information on food waste recycling, visit