From green box to greenhouse; Gloucestershire school recycle plastic bottles

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Gloucestershire based Widden Primary School has taken on a challenging, but fantastic educational project and built a greenhouse out of 1,000 plastic bottles!

Gloucestershire school recycle plastic bottles

Donated by Printwaste, the recycled bottles have not only been used to create the greenhouse structure, but have also provided ‘grow-bags’ for plants, been used to create carrier bags and helped to support a wheelchair charity.

Our Director, Sally Robins says “Each year we support a school with an Eco-project and this year we were amazed by not only the ingenuity of the teachers, but also the enthusiasm of the pupils at Widden Primary School! What they have done with 1,000 plastic bottles, which originated from homes in Gloucestershire, is nothing short of amazing! These kids and this project can certainly teach the rest of us a thing or two about recycling and reusing!”

For top tips on helping schools be green, read on.

How the bottles were used:

·         Building a greenhouse: Added to a timber frame structure produced by some of the staff, the plastic bottles were stuck together to make wall and roof panels. The plastic offers insulation, lets in light and is a great, low-cost replacement for traditional glass houses.

·         Making carrier-bags: Believe it or not, the labels from the plastic bottles were soaked off and dried in the sun; they were then stuck to sheets to create quirky patterns and combined with cereal packets to create carrier bags; a great alternative for shopping!

·         Charitable donation: The tops of all 1,000 bottles were saved and more were collected, before being sent off to a charity that buys wheelchairs. Exchanged for money, the revenue will be used to purchase additional wheelchairs.

·         DIY ‘grow-bags’: cut lengthways or using the bottoms, the plastic bottles were filled with compost produced from the school’s fruit waste; these were then used to nurture the seeds and give them space to grow in the greenhouse. Plants included cress and rocket.

As well as getting hands-on and learning in this educational project, the children also benefitted from an ‘Eco-Festival’ which included activities and workshops to help with recycling education and caring for the environment. Also in attendance were representatives from schools in Poland, Czech Republic, Italy, France as well as Devon, who have partnered on the event. Our Director, Sally Robins, who attended the event continues “the commitment from the staff and pupils at Widden Primary School cannot be underestimated. I had a fantastic afternoon with them and am honoured to have been included. It’s great to see Printwaste’s donation put to such good use.”

Meanwhile Heather Jones, a representative of Widden Primary School has issued a lovely poem to Printwaste from the school that said;

Please bring in bottles.

Don’t throw them away.

We’re building a greenhouse.

With bottles, you say?


With help from Printwaste

We built it in haste.

And believe it or not

There was no waste!


The labels were stripped,

Washed and dried in the sun,

Made into gift bags for visitors

From the European Union.


Exciting learning and a fulfilled future,

We look forward to working with you more and more.

Recycling and bins are just part of what you do.

To Sally and all at Printwaste,

Widden Primary School says a BIG ”Thank you!”


Top Tips For Helping Schools To Be Green:

– Reduce

This method is simple! Just use less stuff. We don’t always need to use as much as we do! For example, encourage students to be more aware of how much paper they use. Those scribbles and doodles do tend to be wasteful; or at lunch rather than grabbing a handful of napkins, just take one.

– Reuse

More and more schools are beginning to reuse textbooks, notebooks, stationary and more. But take it one step further and encourage the parents to recycle their kid’s school supplies by starting up a hand-me-down shop. The children drop off school uniform that they have outgrown or stationary that they no longer need and the shop passes it on to the younger students.

– Recycle

Most schools now have recycling bins everywhere, but if students don’t use these facilities the impact will be low. Encourage students to use the facilities available.

– Power Down

Make students more aware of saving energy. Ask students to switch off the lights if they are the last one leaving a room, and especially if they are leaving a computer – there is no need to leave the computer screen on!

– Educate!

The pupils at the school are the future generations on this planet, so let’s get them involved and learning about the importance of recycling from a young age! By educating them you are encouraging them to use the recycling facilities around the school, reuse their school materials and equipment, recycle, be more aware of what they are throwing away, and making recycling second nature!

– Tree Planting

The trees absorb the CO2 generated by the school. Therefore the more trees you plant, the more you are counteracting the schools COgeneration, and fighting climate change. So get the children involved in this creative, outdoors activity with science and nature. Widden Primary School have planted several fruit trees including apple, which they’re eating and then composting!


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