INEOS challenged pupils from 10 primary schools in the Western Cape to collect the most plastic, glass, cans and paper for a chance to win about €3,000.
“The idea was to turn what is perceived as a chore into a fun habit,” said Caroline Hughes, INEOS SA spokeswoman. “And also to show the children that waste has value.”
The schools, which were initially chosen to take part in the Trash 4 Treats competition, were first briefed by a local recycling company, Waste Want, which would help to weigh and collect the rubbish.
Prior to the competition, INEOS hosted a litter clean-up day at each school. Starter kits were issued to each child so he or she knew what could – and couldn’t – be recycled. Each pupil was also given four different coloured bin bags so they could sort the rubbish.
After the competition ended, the 13,094 children had collected 5328kg of waste in just seven weeks. The total included 1110 kg of plastic.
But for Caroline and the team at INEOS, the biggest benefit has been a change in mindset.
“Many of them simply didn’t know why rubbish was a problem,” said Caroline. “But the hope is that the children – having seen the financial and environmental benefits – will continue to keep their neighbourhoods tidy.”
The winning school was Mitchells Heights Primary, which amassed 1519kg of recyclable waste. “I have noticed a big difference in our learners since we started Trash 4 Treats,” said a teacher.
“They now take pride in their school grounds and berate others who litter. It has been wonderful to witness children take an active interest in caring for their environment. We have started a clean revolution at Mitchells.”
All the schools, though, plan to continue their involvement with the recycling centre, which pays for the rubbish.
Caroline said the recycled plastic was especially in demand locally. “Many of the teachers and children were amazed to discover what happens to plastic bottles that are recycled,” she said.
Next year, INEOS plans to take Trash 4 Treats and its popular mascot Trashy to more schools in South Africa.
With a new mascot to inspire the children, things are looking up.
The winning school was Mitchells Heights Primary, which amassed 1519kg of recyclable waste.
3.75 Black Rhinos
After the competition ended, the 13,094 children had collected 5328kg of waste in just seven weeks. The total included 1110 kg of plastic. That’s the same weight as 3.75 black rhinos!
For more details log on to: trashfortreats.webtestsite.co.za