School: where the struggle against plastic waste begins

On behalf of a sustainable future, education has the crucial role to help younger generations to adopt environmental friendly habits.


Italian government identifies school as a place where to actuate educative projects about environment, sustainability, cultural heritage and global citizenship. Decisive aspects of these projects are the link with the territory, cultural exchanges, discussions with young people, interdisciplinary dimension and the realization of specific courses, through which school can sustain youth work towards the 17 “sustainable development goals”. In other words, school is a journey where young people can explore cultures and emotions, can acquire awareness towards sustainability together with human wellness.

By teaching students environmental education, sustainability, cultural heritage and global citizenship it is possible to make young people aware that they belong to a local, but also global, community. In order to build an inclusive, fair and peaceful society by 2030, it is important that every citizen develops a proper sensibility toward personal and general wellness and adopt healthy and environmental friendly habits.

MIUR (Italian Ministry of Education) and schools are preparing informative and formative paths, constantly updated, for students and their families to improve awareness and knowledges related to environmental, general welfare and international citizenship topics.

As results of these projects, more and more young people are adopting eco-friendly habits not only at school, but also in everyday life.

The Ocean Bottle

One of the most visible change in youth behaviour is the replacement of plastic bottles with the reusable ones. Ocean Bottle is a 500ml thermos flask created by the Ocean Bottle team and the Norwegian design company K8, which bottom is made from recycled plastic and inside the bottle there is a NFC technology chip. Every purchase of this bottle will support the gathering of 1000 plastic bottles before they end up in the oceans. Thanks to the cooperation with the Plastic Bank, Plastic Bottle’s income will also help poor people to earn a living by picking up plastics and creating a circular economy. Through the chip inside it, every time a customer fills the bottle by a partner company, he can also donate some money that will be given to people from poorer countries for plastic gathering.

Backpack made with recycled materials

Ergobag is a German brand, part of the German company Fond Of, which produces backpacks using 100% recycled plastic bottles from countries where there are not proper disposal systems.

After have been selected, transparent plastic bottles get grinded into small PET particles that get melted together to obtain an hot mass which will be used to make 3mm long fibres. With PET fibres Ergobag produces threads for its backpacks.

Through this process, the brand has recycled 40 million PET bottles and saved 502.594 litres of petroleum. The company has also saved 74.768 m3 of water (which means 534.057 bathtubs) and 1.966 tesla of carbon dioxide emission (the equivalent of 334 hot-air balloons).

Recycled chairs designed by students

At Ungaretti Middle School in Grosseto, Italy, they placed in the auditorium 200 chairs made with recycled plastic realized by Revet, but designed by students themselves. These chairs had been realized by using a mixture that is 40% composed by recycled plastic and to which had been added anti-flame additive, as security regulations impose.

This project, promoted by municipal administration through Environment office, is part of a program started in 2018 by the town of Grosseto, which consists in providing environmental education lessons to public school students. The town published a notice where they declared they would have awarded schools that will have submit a project for the eco-friendly renovation of school’s interior design. Students had been invited to free their imagination to picture a sustainable and innovative school environment. Ungaretti Middle School’s chairs are the first project which came to the realization.

Revet’s CEO Livio Giannotti claimed that Revet aims to become one of the main company related to circular economy in Italy. For this reason, it will invest 42 million euros to double the production capacity and triple the tons of recycled plastic by 2022.

Sources:

https://www.miur.gov.it/educazione-ambientale-e-alla-sostenibilit%C3%A0

https://oceanbottle.co/pages/how-it-works

https://www.ergobag.com/it/sostenibilita/

https://www.polimerica.it/articolo.asp?id=24630

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