Pupils at Oakfields Community College in Middlesbrough collect used plastic and turn it into products ranging from mouse mats to bowls.
The scheme, designed to drive aspirations and develop business skills among students, has been given £2,500 by UK Steel Enterprise, the business support subsidiary of Tata Steel.
The money from UKSE’s special Community Support Fund has enabled the school to buy equipment, including a shredder, to establish their ‘recycling plant’.
“This started as a pilot scheme with a small group of Year 9 pupils,” explained Anna Wolfenden, advanced skills teacher in science, “but we hope to expand it across the school.
“We don’t know of any similar school project and it has attracted national attention, so we could be blazing a trail with this. It is playing such an important part right across the curriculum, from science, maths, technology, art and IT to teaching enterprise and business skills, as well as raising awareness about the environment and community issues.”
The pupils leading the project have visited JB Recycling in Hartlepool, a thriving company that has expanded with the help of investment from UK Steel Enterprise, to see commercial recycling in action.
Wolfenden added: “The students have come up with some great ideas and are so enthusiastic that they are spending their lunchtimes and spare time on the project.”
Simon Hamilton, regional manager of UK Steel Enterprise, said: “This is such a great project in so many ways. We are always keen to support initiatives that encourage and develop business skills and enterprise in young people as they will be starting and running the businesses of the future.
“Our Community Fund was set up to improve the lives of people living in our steel areas and this recycling project also helps to improve the environment. It’s a win-win situation.”
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