National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

28 October 2021

New training to tackle plastic pollution by inspiring behaviour change among young farmers launches today (28 October), just days before COP26 and during National Young Farmers’ Week 2021.

The training session has been developed for the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) by the plastics and sustainability team at the Environment Agency, as part of its work on the Interreg Preventing Plastic Pollution Project. 

The training recognises the important role agriculture and everyone in rural locations must play in protecting the environment. The course will join NFYFC’s suite of training modules, called The Curve, which YFCs deliver during club meetings as part of their club programmes. 

The new module aims to provide solutions that will enable YFC members to help prevent plastic pollution and drive long-term positive behaviour change amongst young people. Based around six activities, the session will encourage members to think about and discuss the impacts, scale and sources of plastic pollution, particularly in rural environments. 

A major part of the module is focused on helping YFC members connect how plastic waste in the countryside results in polluting the oceans, as there is often a misunderstanding about the origin of plastic found in the sea.

Some key agricultural reminders about plastic waste include:

  • Keeping waste plastic clean, dry, sorted and contained to keep costs down 
  • Burning, burying and long-term storage of plastic waste on site is illegal 
  • The legal responsibility to manage your waste and and dispose of it properly.

On completing the module, YFC members will hopefully be inspired to make a pledge to do something to help tackle plastic pollution, like reducing their own waste production, implementing good waste management, or sharing what they have learnt with others to widen awareness of the impacts of plastic pollution. 

The module launches off the back of NFYFC’s YFC Operation Green project, which called on YFC members to help improve the environment in their rural communities through litter picks or other local projects. A YFC Operation Green toolkit to help YFCs take action was also developed with the Environment Agency and clubs have been recording their work in the build-up to National Young Farmers’ Week 2021 (25-29 October), supported by NatWest. 

NFYFC Chair of Council Rachel Goldie said: 

“With COP26 only days away, we hope the new Plastic Prevention training module will also help to encourage YFC members to take positive action against climate change. Working with The Environment Agency, we have created an interactive and engaging course that aims to inspire our members to think differently and do what they can to prevent plastic pollution. 

“As one of the largest rural youth organisations in the UK, representing the next generation of farmers, it’s important we find new ways to motivate YFC members to do what they can to protect our environment.” 

During the pandemic, NFYFC also worked with the Environment Agency to develop plastic prevention resources and activities for YFC members to do at home and these are also available for clubs to run now they are meeting again. 

Environment Agency project officer Claire Horrocks said: 

“Land-based industries have an important role to play in protecting our environment. Working with young farmers is a great way to inspire the agriculture sector to take positive action to reduce and reuse plastic waste, and implement good waste management practice. 

“Young people are at the heart of our work as it is their energy and passion that can help shape new generational habits, contributing to long-term behaviour changes.” 

The training module was piloted in Leicestershire with 30 members of Rearsby & District YFC earlier in October and Club Chair Matt Kirk said: 

“This training module really opened our eyes to the problems caused by plastic pollution and showed how even making small changes can have a big impact. It’s great that this course has been developed for Young Farmers’ Clubs by NFYFC and the Environment Agency as the information has been tailored to make it relevant to people living in rural communities and working in agriculture. 

“After the session, we all discussed the pledges we would make to tackle plastic pollution and ideas ranged from drinking more from reusable cups and bottles to looking at the use and disposal of plastic on our farms.” 


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