East Ayrshire Council has moo-ved away from using single-use plastics in schools.

The news is thanks to a contract with the multi-award winning and local dairy farmer, Bryce Cunningham from Mossgiel Organic Farm.

In 2021, the Council became the first local authority in Scotland to enter into a contract with Mossgiel to supply local primary schools and Early Childhood Centres with milk.

Bryce had taken the decision to stop using single-use plastics at the dairy back in 2019, so as part of the contract milk dispensers were installed in every facility.

Children and young people have access to reusable beakers and can help themselves to organic milk at lunch and break.

The installation of the milk dispensers has led to 4,024,209 pieces of single-use plastic being saved from landfill in just two years.

Councillor Graham Barton, Cabinet Spokesperson for Planning, Property and Environment, was joined by Councillor Elaine Cowan, Cabinet Spokesperson for Education, and Children and Young People, at New Cumnock Primary School to talk to the Catering Services team about Mossgiel’s organic milk.

Cllr Barton said: “By contracting Mossgiel to supply our schools with milk, the council made a clear statement that we were serious about taking action to tackle the climate emergency, while ensuring that we invest in local suppliers who provide the best quality produce for our children and young people.

"Delivery is made by electric vehicle from their farm just outside Mauchline and Bryce Cunningham is committed to making dairy farming sustainable and to producing organic milk.

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“There was so many benefits for the team to consider – the high welfare standards of the animals, the reduction in food miles, our commitment to Food for Life (we are the longest-standing gold award holder in the UK) and to tackling the climate emergency.

"It is credit to Mark Hunter and the Catering Services team that Mossgiel were contracted by the Council and have delivered such success.

"Also it was great to hear from the children and young people from New Cumnock Primary about how much they love the milk.

“All of this is great news, but diverting 4,024,209 pieces of single-use plastics from landfill in just two years is a win for the Council and a win for the environment.

"I am incredibly proud of this achievement and it is just the beginning.”

Mossgiel's organic milk was judged the 'best overall product' at the Scottish Food and Drink Excellence in September, and is also a past winner at the Scottish Retail Food and Drink Awards and the Scottish Rural Awards.