Our unique relationship with Tops Day Nurseries

Tops are constantly identifying and acting on areas for improvement in their day-to-day operations; GECCO is Cheryl’s vehicle for sharing what they learn with others in Early Years childcare and education.

No politics, no hidden agendas, no conflicts of interest

Cheryl is an outspoken advocate for the natural world’s sustainable business practice and education. She made headlines around the world in 2017 (during Christmas time) for her ban on plastic glitter in all Tops nurseries, and more recently for scrapping commercial baby wipes in favour of making their own ‘Homemade’ variety. The Tops group continues to embrace changes that make a real difference to their environmental impact; In 2018, Cheryl was named ‘Most Influential Person in Childcare’ by Nursery Management Today in the UK, and Tops Day Nurseries was awarded ‘Dorset Environmental Business of the Year.

electric car

Champions for Change

A few of the highlights along Tops’ journey to sustainability…

Just One Ocean

“Tops Day Nurseries are a great model of how an organisation can make sustainable changes to their behaviour that results in a contribution to protecting the environment and particularly the oceans … becoming the most environmentally conscious and sustainable nursery chain in the UK … Cheryl’s passion and the changes her company have made have been incredible.”

Tops Havant awarded Plastic Free Schools status

The first early years setting to achieve the accreditation!

Zero emissions!

Tops have three electric cars and their maintenance support team also drive electric vehicles

EY Eco-Sustainability Conference 2020

The first GECCO Early Years Eco-Sustainability Conference ran alongside the Nursery World Show in London, February 2020.

Prior to the event Cheryl had the opportunity to  chat on camera with Matt Arnerich from Famly, about her own journey in sustainability, and how settings can work to be more sustainable every day.

Small steps towards a sustainable future

Tops aim to stop or at least reduce the use of all single-use plastics, in addition to which they:

  • No longer use disposable plastic aprons when serving food, using washable cotton aprons instead;
  • Display ‘Switch it off’ stickers in all nurseries and head office, and gave them to every child to use at home;
  • Communicate with parents by email, saving on printing costs and paper;
  • Savings made go towards further improvement to their green credentials, such as paying for food waste to be collected;
  • Swapped light bulbs for LED bulbs;
  • Installed time and light sensors;
  • Installed timers on water coolers and heaters;
  • Set printers to sleep rather than standby;
  • Fitted fuel saving magnets on gas and water mains;
  • Fitted solar panels at 6 sites, and we're working on the rest, also tesla “wall”;
  • Have made cycling to work more accessible for staff with electric bikes; Tops received a grant for an electric bike pool funded by the Business Travel Network, an initiative set up and supported by the local authorities;
  • Have identified sustainable travel options for every nursery, including walking, bus, train & cycle routes; implemented incentives such as a bus pass loan, cycle to work scheme, and installed lockers & showers.

The famous glitter ban!

Saving on plastic waste and catching the attention of the world's media

Bamboo toothbrushes

Saving on plastic waste.

Bar soap instead of liquid soap

Saving on plastic waste.

'Switch it off' stickers

Saving energy.

Stay informed

GECCO and Tops will bring you information on steps you can take to work towards a new sustainable approach. So bookmark our website, join us on Facebook and sign up below to receive news & updates directly into your Inbox.