Recycle Week: Kids find glass lessons a clear winner

Schoolchildren aged between 5-11 from all over the UK have been learning about the importance of recycling glass thanks to an innovative programme created by British Glass and the National Schools Partnership.

Over 150,000 have participated in the popular Glass Guardians programme, which educates the children about the 100% recyclability and sustainability benefits of glass, through free fun and absorbing activities.

From Merseyside to the Rhondda and Derbyshire to North Devon, schoolchildren have been enthusiastically finding out everything there is to know about glass, how it is made and why it is such a useful and resourceful material.

Pensby Primary School in the Wirral, Lucy Tappin, Trainee Teacher at Pensby says “We had just been about to start learning statistics so learning statistics in the context of glass, what it’s made of, its recyclability and reusability and so on was very interesting and perfect timing. We also have an ‘Ambitious Words’ English project so we selected our favourite quotes from the Activity Workbooks and put them up around the room”.

We had just been about to start learning statistics so learning statistics in the context of glass, what it’s made of, its recyclability and reusability and so on was very interesting and perfect timing

The school has its own Eco-Council and recently the whole school went single-use plastic free. “The children loved learning about the benefits of recycling glass and its sustainable properties. They are passionate about the environment and have been inspired to speak to grown-ups about what they have been discovering about glass” explains Lucy.

At Ysgol Maes Y Felin school in Flintshire, Wales, Tamsin Nellist, Head Teacher for Years 1 & 2 says: “The children loved the research element of the programme and all the practical exercises”. Their enthusiasm for spreading the good news about glass has reached beyond the classroom into the wider community too.

“We’ve done lots of posters, plus some tips and tricks to share with local businesses on how to make the most of reusing glass. We even had a visit from the local Mayor who was very impressed with what the children had done” explains Tamsin.

The children of Blackwell Primary School in Alfreton, Derbyshire are switched on when it comes to all things environmental and even have their own self-named action group called the Tough Tomatoes. They were excited to find out more about glass through Glass Guardians and in particular, its reusable potential, such as how empty jam jars make great plant pots for growing seedlings. The children wasted no time in experimenting with this as part of the group’s gardening activities.

Over in Pontypridd, Wales, the children in Year 5 at Trerobart Primary School loved the research element to the programme and got a lot of enjoyment from all the different types of learning materials in the Glass Guardians pack.

Alyson Parry, Year 5 Teacher says “There was so much to learn and find out about glass – how it is recycled, what types of glass can and can’t be recycled, how recycling glass saves C02 and energy, the importance of separating the different colours in the reprocessing, the children really enjoyed finding out about it all. I personally didn’t realise you can’t recycle mirror glass, so there was lots of really useful information for us all to learn about”.

The winning school, Fetterangus School in Peterhead, created a video of children singing a new recycled-themed version of ’10 Green Bottles’ calling on everyone to recycle more glass. The judges agreed it was an outstanding entry and commented: “An immense amount of thought, hard work, rehearsal and energy has gone into this (video)…and there is every indication that its message has become something that all those pupils will take to heart”.

The competition, together with the core Glass Guardians activity is designed to help schools with their Eco School Awards – an internationally recognised award for excellence in environmental action and learning

Victoria Adams, Communications Manager at British Glass says: “We’ve been bowled over by the enthusiasm and creativity shown by the children. The Glass Guardians programme has really sparked their imagination. It’s encouraging to see how being environmentally responsible is clearly important to them, which is good news for the planet – and us all”.

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