Schools set to throw away 10.6m lost items

Schools throughout the West Midlands run the risk of throwing away 10.6 million in lost items during the current school year as the lost property box can no longer operate in the same way due to the pandemic.

It means 3.5m items may go to waste across the region this side of Christmas, accounting for 12 per cent of the 30 million estimated to be thrown away across the UK this year.

Children lose 11 possessions per year on average, according to the results of a study amongst parents in the West Midlands.

This equates to 143 items during a child’s lifetime at school and it is now more of a problem now than ever before as many schools are reluctant to store lost property due to fears over the spread of Covid-19.

In addition to the environmental impact of lost property ending up in landfill, the financial implication of these lost items is staggering.

Parents in the West Midlands have admitted to shelling out an additional £93 per year on average to replace items their child has lost, adding up to £1,209 during the course of their school lives.

Research, commissioned by British name label manufacturer My Nametags, revealed that gloves are the items lost by children most often in the area, with almost a fifth of parents stating that their youngsters have lost theirs.


That was closely followed by school jumpers (15 per cent), stationery (13 per cent), and hats (10 per cent).

In fact, the issue of lost property in West Midlands is so great that a quarter of parents have resorted to buying more than one of certain items for their child, to act as an insurance policy in case they lose them. Pieces of school uniform (32 per cent) were the most commonly doubled-up item, with keys (32 per cent) and glasses (30 per cent) following closely behind.

Only a quarter of parents said they label items to prevent them from being lost at school, with a fifth admitting they simply replace lost things rather than attempting to look for them.

Lars Andersen, managing director at My Nametags, said: “The lost property box is relied upon by so many parents to retrieve misplaced jumpers and other kit that children lose so easily at school.

“This has been made extremely difficult in the current climate, as schools are finding it harder to store lost items safely and parents can no longer enter their child’s school to look for them.

“There is potential for a huge amount of waste, but this is easily prevented. Simply adding a label to items that your children are taking to school can spare the heartache of losing treasured items, as well as benefitting both the planet and your wallet, something which is especially important for families right now.”

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