SCHOOLS are changing their ways to reduce plastic use and become more eco-friendly.

With pressure increasing to take action for the environment, more schools are trying to improve their carbon footprints, particularly in their canteens.

This month, children at The Batt CE Primary School in Witney are due to relaunch a petition, calling for a national ban on plastic cutlery and straws in schools.

They published the petition on the government's official site in November, which was signed by more than 1,930 people in the space of a few weeks.

It had to be closed early due to the General Election, but pupils hope to keep the momentum going.

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The petition was debated and drafted by the school council, which comprises of pupils from reception through to Year 6, as part of the school's work for UK Parliament Week in November.

Deputy headteacher Mark Peacey said: "It started when the children noticed that plastic spoons were provided with the yoghurt pudding option on a Friday and, quite rightly, they felt that this was not a good idea.

"Metal cutlery is used for all other meal options and the children felt it would be a good idea to make sure this was the case in all schools."

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Last term the school introduced metal spoons instead.

Mr Peacey said the reaction to their petition had been 'terrific'.

At St Swithun's CE Primary School in Kennington, near Oxford, pupils studied a school-wide topic last term about environmental issues and sustainability.

In a newsletter sent to parents before Christmas, headteacher Helen Atkinson wrote: "We are making changes in school as a result.

"The School Lunch Company, whose staff provide our ever-popular lunchtime catering, are working hard to minimise plastic use.

"We now have a food waste bin at lunch times and I think the next task here is to try to reduce the amount of food that is being wasted."

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The school has bins to collect food waste, such as banana skins and other fruit and vegetable waste from snacks.

It is also trying to source cost-effective bags to line the bins with, and is looking to reduce paper use.

At secondary level, Cheney School in Headington has also been turning its attention to plastic use.

In the week before Christmas, pupils were asked to complete a survey about how the canteen could become more environmentally-friendly, with questions about vegetarian options and single-use plastic bottles.

In December 2018, the education secretary challenged all schools to eliminate single-use plastics by 2022, including items such as plastic bags, straws, bottles and food packaging.

The national campaign group Surfers Against Sewage is also running a programme called Plastic Free Schools, which 1,000 UK schools had signed up to as of June 2019.