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Viridor, Kent County Council and Wastebuster share lessons in recycling

14th November 2017

A Gravesham school has won a £500 prize and has been named a county recycling champion after topping the leader board in a home recycling challenge.  More than 100 schools across Kent were involved in a national competition and Gravesham Borough Council took the opportunity to challenge their own schools in a local version of the event.

St John’s Catholic Primary School received its prize at its very own Wastebuster assembly (held on Monday, 13 November) after putting in an exceptional effort in the Recycling Challenge involving Viridor, one of the UK’s biggest recycling companies.

St John’s Catholic Primary School received its prize at its very own Wastebuster assembly (held on Monday, 13 November) after putting in an exceptional effort in the Recycling Challenge.

The school’s project attracted 610 entries – an impressive 85% participation – as part of a programme involving Viridor, Kent County Council and Wastebuster.

St John’s has an Eco-Warrior Club which meets every week and is guided by their Eco-Leader, Adele Wilson (science subject leader).

Adele said: “St John’s is delighted to have won the Recycling Challenge. Our pupils are committed to being young environmental heroes and recycling is such an easy way for everyone to contribute.  Winning the Recycling Challenge will really encourage our Eco-Warrior Club.”

All pupils who took part in the challenge could also enter a recycling checklist poster competition, where they could decorate a list of items that can be recycled in Gravesham, and pin it up in their home to encourage their family to recycle correctly. They could then take a photograph of their poster, and send it to Wastebuster for a chance to win an iPad. This was a second win for St John’s since the winner was one of their pupils, Isabella

Simon Prior, Viridor’s Head of Local Authority Development, said the company, which processes 62,000 tonnes of recycling each year from seven district councils in Kent, through initiatives such as the recycling challenge were crucial to increasing recycling in the UK.

He said: “Not only is increasing recycling rates an important way for us all to contribute to our country’s environmental targets but residents who recycle correctly (paper, cardboard, aluminium, steel, plastics and glass) really can help their local authority bring in the cash needed to keep the waste collection costs down. The important thing to remember is that to do this it has to be quality recycling and this is why the Right Stuff, Right Bin message is so very important.

“And Viridor knows, through its education initiatives across England, Scotland and Wales, that once we talk to our children about the recycling message they become our most passionate advocates, taking the message home to their families and getting Mum, Dad, their brother and sisters involved in recycling. This really is how we can all make a difference.”

Simon’s view was echoed by Clare Burt, Kent County Council’s Contracts and Compliance Officer, who said:  Kent County Council expects our Providers through our contracts to support the Authority’s Strategic Outcomes by demonstrating a commitment to the Public Services (Social Value Act) 2012, which includes considering the wider economic, environmental and social value of this service.

“Through partnership working with Viridor, Wastebusters and the Waste Collection Authorities, the Home Recycling Challenge that was offered to all schools in Kent provided a direct educational message into households around recycling and the reduction of contamination. This initiative is an exemplary contribution and has demonstrated a commitment to the Social Value Outcome ‘Green and Sustainable: protecting the environment, minimising waste and energy consumption and using other resources efficiently’.”

And Wastebuster’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer Katy Newnham added: “By promoting achievable actions and empowering young people to make a difference, campaigns like the Gravesham Home Recycling Challenge will hopefully change attitudes and positively influence recycling behaviours. The children in this school have been wonderful at getting their families to take part.”

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