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New education award empowers young people to tackle plastic pollution and the climate emergency

The Environment Agency has joined forces with national school network PiXL (Partners in Excellence) to launch a plastic pollution-focused award for young people.

Key Stage 3 and 4 students from PiXL member schools can sign up for the ‘Green Edge Award’ programme from September and undertake one of three award levels – Apprentice, Pioneer and Graduate.

The award is centred around character development with each award level focussing on five attributes – leadership, organisation, resilience, initiative and communication. Students will be encouraged to demonstrate these skills through a series of activities, including plastic waste surveys, organising litter picks, and setting up repair cafes.

The award content has been produced by the Environment Agency’s plastics and sustainability team on behalf of the Interreg Preventing Plastic Pollution (PPP) project, which is working with the education, business, community, sports and agriculture sectors.

Kelly Haynes, Environment Agency STEM engagement officer, said: “We are thrilled to be working with PiXL to offer this award, which empowers young people to help tackle plastic pollution and the wider climate emergency.

“The Green Edge award is a very hands-on programme, allowing students to develop their knowledge and skills through practical activities, collectively making their schools, homes and communities more sustainable. Young people are the future custodians of our planet so to see such passion and enthusiasm for these activities will be truly inspirational.”

The award sits alongside the current PiXL Edge programme, which supports students to independently develop life skills via experiences and provides them with an evidenced record of their achievements.

Rachel Johnson, CEO of PiXL, said: “Young people often report feeling powerless in the face of the climate crisis we face, which will no doubt play a big part in their futures. The introduction of the Green Edge, in partnership with the Environment Agency, means that not only will they learn about the issues at hand, but can start working on practical ways to make a difference and empower themselves and others to bring about change.”