Students at the University of Worcester have been working with local schoolchildren on an initiative to develop recycling awareness in Worcester.
As part of a pilot scheme, university students ran a workshop at Oldbury Park Primary RSA Academy, helping pupils produce drawings of typical recyclable and non-recyclable items for posters, informing people of the rules around recycling.
The students, some of whom study Creative Media, then took the children’s drawings and turned them into posters, which were given to every pupil’s family, to be put on their fridge or bins as a reminder. Hollymount School also took part in the project, designing their own posters for display at home.
The schoolchildren at both schools were then asked to use the posters to help them to record the number of full bags of recycling collected, and keep an eye on contamination. The two schools, and year groups, competed to see who could recycle the most.
Journalism student Ellen Flannery, who took part in the recycling session, said: “It is always daunting working with children, but they were all enthusiastic, fun and friendly and knew so much about how to look after their planet. I really enjoyed listening to their clever and educated responses, and also looking through their fantastically creative drawings! Going to the school was a great way to keep the conversation going, and it was good knowing that they were going to carry on the discussions we were having with them at home. It’s also really promising to see the next generation is so passionate about our planet and is going to make some real changes for their future.”
Oldbury Primary RSA Academy teacher, Steph Moule, said: “The eco club found working with the University students extremely valuable and enjoyed the activities they had planned. The children are very knowledgeable in recycling and it was great to give them the opportunity to show off and be involved in such an extensive project! They took responsibility for designing the posters to help others recycle so they felt really involved and valued in the process.”
The pilot scheme was run with partners, social housing organisation, Platform Housing, along with support from facilities management consultancy firm, Sitemark, and Worcester City Council. As part of the pilot each pupil’s family also received a re-useable recycling bag, printed with clear recycling instructions. The Council has been measuring whether the scheme affected local levels of recycling, following the distribution of the recycling bags.
The initiative was part funded using some of the £15,000 won by the University in a national recycling competition run by SOS UK, on behalf of the National Union of Students, and funded by Coca-Cola.
It is hoped that the knowledge gained from this pilot will be taken forward into further recycling schemes.