RHS pupils give eco support to plastic tree-guard clean up

Green-fingered pupils from the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook, Ipswich, have helped the local village of Butley Low Corner near Woodbridge by collecting plastic waste found in the local woodland.

The eco-committee at Royal Hospital School worked with the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) working party, to organise the collection of plastic collars which had fallen off growing trees. Hundreds of thousands of these tree guards are used every year, most are made from single use plastic, and if left they will slowly break up and degrade into micro pieces of plastic, causing local pockets of pollution or ending up in waterways, ultimately washing out to sea.

The students aged between 11 and 15, who are part of RHS’ eco-committee, joined AONB ‘Free the Trees’ volunteers and filled three heavy duty bags full of plastic collars.

The project was coordinated by Chemistry Teacher Dr Ryan, who said:

“At the Royal Hospital School, we’re continuously looking for projects for our students to get involved in and give back to the local community. Suffolk is a wonderful place to live, work and play, so we must protect it at all costs!

Pupil Polly Fitch enjoyed the day, commenting:

“Although it was hard work, everyone involved thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The bags of plastic collars were collected by the landlord that day and will be recycled for future use. It is a great feeling knowing that we have done something to help protect the local environment.”

Neil Lister, Countryside Projects Officer with the AONB, added:

“It was an absolute pleasure to work with such a motivated, polite and cheerful group. Everyone has the opportunity to work to make the AONB and the environment better and the pupils grasped that opportunity (and the tree guards) with both hands. Thank you RHS. We hope you will be back!”

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