Carole’s got balls

Filed in Blog by on June 18, 2009 9 Comments
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Foil collected by pupils at Kew school for recycling

Foil collected by pupils at Kew school for recycling

Foil balls that is. Yes, one of our long suffering readers; Carole of ‘Tetra pak recycling in Cornwall‘ fame has hit myzerowaste headlines again with her story of saving the world and I’m really excited to be sharing her feel good story with you all today.

Inspired by John Costigane – resident gardener and liver chef here at zero waste towers – Carole launched a “Bring in your Easter Egg foil and any other foil for a large class shape / weigh in” competition at the school where she works.

Her cunning plan was that all the Easter Egg foil from her hungry little Easter Egg eating pupils, went where it was supposed to go…into the recycling sack, and it has!

Why should we bother to recycle aluminium foil? Aluminium comes from bauxite ore which is is costly to produce and uses large quantities of energy.

Aluminium can be recycled indefinitely as reprocessing does not damage its structure.  Recycling aluminium saves 95% of the energy used in its primary production.

The children had to bring in all of their (clean) Easter egg foil and any other foil for a period of two months, and each class had to mould theirs altogether for a “class ball” to see who could collect the most.

You’ll see from the photo, that they created some true works of art down in Cornwall. Carole thought long and hard about a green prize that the winning class could use. In the end she went for recycled reusable drinks bottles; with the excess ones to be sold at the Summer Fayre.

Announcing the results of Carole’s “Bring in your Easter Egg foil and any other foil for a large class shape / weigh in” competition.

Drumroll please:

  • Class 1 – 362g
  • Class 2 – 502g
  • Class 3 – 718g

What a fabulous effort from all of you. I feel like a proud mother hen! That’s well over 1.5 kgs of foil saved from the landfill.

Class 3 – I hope you are brushing your teeth twice a day with all that chocolate eating!

Congratulations to Carole for organising the competition, to class 3 who won and to John for the inspiration behind it all.

It’s really not difficult to get children motivated about recycling. Who else has a feel good story for us?


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (9)

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  1. John Costigane says:

    HI Mrs Green,

    1.5kg of aluminium foil is a mega-achievement for Carole and all the children, a superb effort all round. The three aluminium ‘rocks’ are well formed and must have taken a deal of hand pressure to keep whole. From the Zero Waste perspective, this is the wave of the future, no longer landfilling or even worse incineration of the valuable metal, the latter into aluminium oxide (bauxite in the mining source).

    A Zero Waste prize would be an idea, as a memento. Have you any thoughts about that, Mrs G?

    Thanks for the nice words. The truth is these are learning experiences , and hopefully, the same for others. MyZeroWaste is the best contact for Zero Wasters, old and new. For me Zero Waste has so many aspects to it that the work will never be finished, though ever on a positive, improving curve.

  2. Rachel says:

    Our curb side collection no longer collects foil, it did before we moved, is there another way to recycle it without having to drive to a recycling centre some distance away? Thanks

  3. Deb from Boston says:

    I recently learned that Reynolds, one of the leading Aluminum Foil companies in the US now sells 100% recycled foil!

    I’m passing on this idea to the teachers at my son’s school – perhaps next year they can do it – OR imagine one giant ball in the cafeteria that the whole school contributes to!

  4. Carole says:

    Hi Mrs G, John et al,

    Thank you for covering the story. Funnily enough, Debs from Boston, after John inspired me, I went off to the school kitchen where our wonderful cook collects all of her waste foil and compacts them down to ball shapes. It was her “ball under construction” that I showed the children to give them the idea. It is certainly doable as a whole school project.

    Our foil has gone off for recycling. The children were presented with their bottle prizes on Wednesday at assembly, and as Mrs G said, we will be selling the spare ones (only 28 kids in C3, but a minimum order of 100 bottles had to be made) at the Summer Fayre tomorrow. All bottles presented were labelled with the children’s names with indelible ink to prevent arguments and confusion!

  5. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: Hi John, it’s a wonderful achievement for Carole and her pupils isn’t it?
    No idea about a prize from us, but Carole has already issued something. We don’t really have anything to offer, sadly 🙁
    We gave Kristal some reusable shopping bags to give away as prizes during her fashion show, but I don’t think primary children would really want those!

    @Rachel: Hi Rachel, welcome to the site. I don’t know of another way to recycle foil except through the recycling banks. We save ours up, as it doesn’t take much room and drive out there once a month or so, when we can incorporate it into an errand. You need to find a school like Carole’s to donate yours too!

    @Deb from Boston: Hi Deb, it’s good to see more of these recycled products so that we can close the loop as consumers. We can buy recycled foil, parchment paper and muffin cake cases too.

    @Carole: Good luck with the fayre, Carole and well done on all your achievements. It really was a great story to cover – thank you for sharing it with us 🙂

  6. John Costigane says:

    @Mrs Green: True enough, Carole works with the kids and knows how best to reward the youngsters. An older outlook, like mine, sees people of all ages as the same which is convenient but not the real situation. Carole did so well to run the show and teeth cleaning was an important issue to impress on the young minds as excessive sweet eating can harm the teeth. I overlooked that in the rush to promote Zero Waste, but will be more mindful in future campaigns, whatever is involved.

  7. Ben says:

    Another good reason to recycle aluminium is that a lot of the bauxite comes from areas that are tropical rainforests, and bauxite tends to be open mined and the ground above cleared.

  8. Mrs Green says:

    @Ben: Hi Ben; thanks for adding that information to the mix. I did not know that a lot of the bauxite comes from tropical rainforest areas – an even better reason to recycle. Thanks for enlightening me 🙂

  9. Jane says:

    Although many of the roadside recycling banks have labels saying Food & Drinks Cans Only some Councils will allow you to put your clean aluminium food trays etc in these as well. Ask your Council if you can but don’t just drop loose aluminium milk bottle tops in – roll them into one of the balls first illustrated in the article above first!

    Don’t forget the scrunch test! If you scrunch up your piece of ‘foil’ in your hand and it doesn’t stay scrunched then it probably isn’t (eg those crisp packets).

    Blue Peter where are you?!

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