Pupils from Damers First School in Dorchester travelled to London to lobby Environment Secretary Michael Gove over littering in the UK.

They want to cut waste and challenge a ‘throwaway culture’, and asked Mr Gove to give the green light for a new bottle deposit-return scheme that includes all materials – not just plastic – with the aim of reducing litter and boosting recycling.

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Damers pupils put their case to Michael Gove

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has been campaigning for a deposit-return system – where a small deposit is applied to a drinks container, which is refunded when it is returned for recycling – for more than 10 years.

In March last year, the government promised to introduce a deposit-return scheme in England for single-use drinks containers. However, CPRE is concerned the type and size of containers will be limited.

Damers pupils asked Mr Gove questions about how the government plans to tackle litter and presented the Environment Secretary with a list of golden rules for how they think the deposit-return scheme should operate. The pupils also presented Mr Gove with a drink-can sculpture entitled Future Fossils by Dorset artist Ben Russell.

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A pupil with a sculpture by Ben Russell, who carved the drink can from blue lias, a stone found on Dorset’s beaches

Sophie Colley from Litter Free Dorset, which commissioned the work, said: “We are immensely proud of all the children from Damers First School for helping to create a litter-free United Kingdom. We hope the sculpture will impress upon Michael Gove the importance of the Deposit Return Scheme and the impact it could make long-term on our environment.”

Headteacher at Damers Catherine Smith said: “Our children have strong views and a passion to make our world a more beautiful place and, as part of this campaign, they have inspired other schools, including our local senior school to become actively involved in Litter Free Dorset’s Green Clean.

“We have seen children inspired to spend their spare time helping to look after our local countryside and they are becoming increasingly aware of the power that every individual has to make a difference, one step at a time.”

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