Pupils across Warwick district working with school children from Sierra Leone to tackle plastic waste

Primary schools across the Warwick district are working together to help tackle plastic waste by creating building bricks out of plastic bottles and unrecyclable plastic.

Friday, 12th April 2019, 9:52 am
Updated Friday, 12th April 2019, 10:02 am
Left: a bottle being packed to create an 'ecobrick' and right shows a packed bottle. Photos supplied.

Schools across the Warwick district are joining school children from Sierra Leone to help tackle plastic waste.

Fifteen primary and junior schools in the area are taking part in the project where they collect non-recyclable plastic and 500ml plastic bottles in order to create eco-bricks.

An eco-brick is made from a plastic bottle packed with used plastic, which is then used to create a building block that can be reused.

Left: a bottle being packed to create an 'ecobrick' and right shows a packed bottle. Photos supplied.

The schools are connected through the One World Link, which is a community friendship organisation with a 37-year-long link between the districts of Bo in Sierra Leone and the Warwick district.

Creating eco-bricks is part of the schools’ involvement in the Zero Waste Project, which is funded by the British Council Connecting Classrooms scheme. This grant enables teachers to develop school initiatives through teacher exchanges to and from Sierra Leone.

Liz Garrett, who is a primary schools coordinator for One World Link and a teacher at All Saints’ C of E Junior Schools, said: “It is really exciting to introduce this to schools in this area and in Sierra Leone and it is great that we are all working together.

“People have really had their eyes opened because of Blue Planet. It woke people up about plastic in the ocean as it is a really bad problem.

Representatives from One World Link talk to pupils in Bo about bottle bricks. Photo supplied.

“We came across the ecobricks solution to plastic waste and thought it was something that we could all engage with as it is equally a problem in Sierra Leone.

“Since January, 15 schools have been collecting the unrecyclable plastic with the bid that the project will be completed in June.

“We are collecting to try and make as many bottles as we can. So we are filling 500ml bottled with the plastic. They need to be a third of the volume in weight.

“We sent a letter home with the children to ask parents to collect the plastic and to also send in the bottles, which should be washed and dried so we can get the children to pack them. We have to do it very carefully so there are no air gaps. They also put a solid colour in the bottom so when they are together they look nice and different coloured.

Some of the bottle bricks made by schools in Bo, Sierra Leone. Photo supplied.

“When a bottle has been filled it feels like a solid bit of plastic. It is so solid that it can be used to build with.

“We are planning on building a planter with the possibility of adding a flower bed and people will also be able to sit on it too.

“It will not only reduce plastic waste but it will also make the environment look nice.”

The project will culminate in June during an event to celebrate ‘International day of the African child’.

Liz said: “We will be holding a celebration in June, where one class from each school will attend and they will get to take part in workshops and hopefully we will also have someone there who will be making something from the eco-bricks. It is all dependant on how many we can make together.

“The day will show a real feel of community when it all comes together from various schools. Some schools want to keep their bricks to make things like furniture such as stools and tables.”

Some of the representatives from the project are set to attend ‘Eco Fest’ in Leamington in May, where people can have a go at making an ‘eco brick’.

There are 15 schools taking part in the eco-bricks project across Leamington and Warwick.

Schools taking part include: St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School, Brookhurst Primary School, Emscote Infant School, Clapham Terrace Primary School, St Margaret’s C of E Junior School, Telford Infant School, All Saints’ Junior School, St Patrick’s Catholic Primary, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, St Peter’s Catholic Primary School, Wellesbourne C of E Primary School, Lillington Primary School, Ferncumbe C of E Primary School, All Saints’ C of E Academy and St Paul’s C of E Primary School.

All of the schools will be working on creating ecobricks and some schools will be looking to keep their to make items such as outdoor equipment and items such as tables and stools.