Head flies green flag to ban junk mail deliveries

2nd April 2010 at 01:00
Eco-school leader launches campaign to free country's teachers from junk mail

An eco-minded mid-Wales headteacher has launched a nationwide campaign to stop junk mail being sent to schools.

Fed up with the constant stream of promotional leaflets, catalogues and marketing material landing on his desk, Simon Newson, head of Forden Church in Wales Primary, Powys, decided to take action.

But he was shocked to find that, unlike homeowners, schools cannot sign up to the mailing preference service to reduce the amount of unwanted post they receive because they are considered businesses.

Returning the mail also failed to have an effect, so Mr Newson contacted the climate-change campaign website GoGreen4Schools.co.uk for help. Staff at the site suggested he start an online petition calling for a change in the law - and within a day, 300 heads from across the UK had given their support.

Mr Newson has a passion for green issues, which he has tried to instil in staff and pupils since starting at Forden six years ago. "It's what I'm interested in," he said. "My philosophy is to tread lightly on the world and leave it a better place than when we came into it."

Mr Newson got staff and pupils working towards gaining a green flag to demonstrate the school's eco-friendly credentials. "We carried out an audit of what we were doing, what we were wasting and what we could do better," he said. "Pupils were receptive and keen to help."

Among the green work that took place was a home-grown vegetable scheme, a redevelopment of the grounds including tree-planting, and constant monitoring of the school's energy use.

The hard work paid off and Forden gained its second green flag, but Mr Newson said the school's efforts were still being hampered by the amount of junk mail it receives.

"It's frustrating sorting the post every day and putting stuff into recycling bags, which we have to pay for," he said. "Lots of catalogues are wrapped in plastic, and envelopes have plastic windows, and we have to take those off and separate them."

Mr Newson's petition is calling for the UK Government to recognise the economic and environmental impact of unsolicited advertising mail on schools, and allow them to opt out of receiving it.

Sign the petition at: www.gogreen4schools.co.uk.

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