We’ve just read an article in the Hartlepool Mail that got us even more excited about teaching recycling to young people. Jennifer Uchndu, 11, from St Joseph’s Primary School in Hartlepool, was the winner of a poster competition organised by the local council. She was one of a number of environmentally-aware pupils from primary schools in the town supporting a drive to ensure households recycle their waste properly.

Children from seven schools took part in special recycling assemblies delivered by staff from Hartlepool Council. During the assemblies, the pupils learned about what materials can be recycled and the types of waste that residents should put in their grey recycling bins. They also learned how tonnes of recyclable waste can sometimes be lost due to contamination by non-recyclable items. The council’s policy of not emptying grey bins that are found to be contaminated and marking them with a red tag was also explained. The recycling assemblies are part of a wider Hartlepool Council campaign to promote effective recycling, which includes the launch of an online tool that enables residents to check whether particular items can be put in their grey recycling bins.

This is a fantastic idea that really works hard to help children understand the benefits, processes and necessity of recycling from a very young age. Whilst lessons that incorporate recycling in theory or practice (such as geography and art) are brilliant, these assemblies focused entirely on waste management and sustainability. Due to them being designed specially for primary school pupils, the information was easy to digest by combining bite-sized facts with examples of how the children and their families can get involved, making it engaging and highly targeted. Most importantly, the entire project was fun and creative, whilst the delivery in the form of a competition meant that the children’s interest was piqued from the start.

Teaching and implementing recycling in schools is imperative to our future. Every child must understand why we should all reduce, reuse and recycle by giving examples of what could happen if we don’t. However, scare tactics only play a small part, as the lesson should mainly be about civic duty, social responsibility and respect for the environment, rather than the threat of extinction if we fail to carry them out. That may sound a bit heavy for kids, but you’d be surprised just how receptive they are to ideas that can keep the planet safe and its people healthy.

We stock a huge range of recycling bins that are ideally suited to schools. We also offer fast delivery, 30 days’ credit and a multi buy discount, making it easier for you to order exactly what you need. And don’t forget about the staff, as teachers and other employees create large amounts of waste too, which is where our recycling stations come in very handy.

By empowering young people, together we can create a sustainable world for countless generations to come.

Jennifer Uchndu

Environmental projects officer Joanne Taylor with poster competition winner Jennifer Uchndu. Image: Hartlepool Mail