Tauranga school children have asked Fonterra to consider ditching plastic straws and wrappers on the milk cartons delivered through its Milk for Schools programme.
The 25 pupils in Room 8 at Pillans Point School sent a video to the global dairy nutrition company asking it to consider a new design that replaced plastic straws with a folded top.
Pillans Point School principal Matt Simeon said the middle school was given a theme to focus on throughout the year which was kaitiaki - guardian or caretaker.
Room 8's challenge was to improve something in their school that will make a difference in 30 years' time.
The classroom had been responsible for distributing the Milk for Schools cartons to their classmates two or three times a week since the school signed up to the programme about three years ago.
Simeon said Fonterra encouraged schools to recycle the milk packs, but the children had a suggestion to improve the programme after seeing how much plastic was used.
"The children sit out on the field and drink their milk," Simeon said. "They were seeing how many children drank the milk each day and saw the straws blow away all the time."
Simeon said the video posted to the school's Facebook page had been shared more than 20,000 times and had reached more than 43,000 people.
"The teacher asked me if we should post it on our Facebook page and we thought that would be nice for the community to see, let alone 43,000 people."
The principal said Fonterra had contacted the school after seeing the video and said it would get back to the pupils early next year.
Fonterra director of social responsibility Carolyn Mortland said Fonterra's Milk for Schools packaging was completely recyclable.
"Everything, including the straws and the wrappers, is turned into roof tiles and school books for kids in Thailand," she said.
Mortland said it was great to see children so passionate about recycling.
"We have been in touch with the school to let them know we have seen their video and will follow up with them next year to hear their ideas, as we are always looking for new ways to create a sustainable future."
WHAT IS MILK FOR SCHOOLS?
Fonterra farmers are working together to bring healthy, nutritious milk to children across New Zealand through Fonterra Milk for Schools.
The programme is free for all Kiwi kids in any primary school that would like to take part.
Milk For Schools is now in 70 per cent of New Zealand primary schools, but more schools are encouraged to apply online.
More than 140,000 pupils were drinking nutritious Anchor Milk every day.
Source - Fonterra