PnP School Club creatively promotes good recycling habits with young learners
22 February 2021:
Thousands of learners across South Africa have been receiving pencil bags made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.
20,000 learners across 41 primary schools will receive the PnP pencil bag that is made from a 500ml PET recycled plastic bottle. This means that 20,000 PET bottles would have been recycled, and avoided landfill or slipping into the local environment, for this initiative.
Driving the project is Pick n Pay School Club, a public-private educational platform that provides over two million learners and their families with free educational resources each year.
Andre Nel, head of sustainability at Pick n Pay, says that apart from giving schools annual curriculum-aligned supporting materials – aimed at both educators and learners – Pick n Pay School Club also conceptualises awareness initiatives ranging from hand hygiene to healthy eating.
A growing focus at schools, says Nel, is encouraging positive behaviour towards recycling.
“Plastic packaging is often necessary for food security we also need to create solutions for post-consumer plastic packaging so that we can minimise its impact on the environment. The industry has created many solutions already. For instance, Pick n Pay makes all its reusable shopping bags from recycled bottles and in the last three years alone, nearly 11 million 500ml plastic bottles have been recycled to make these bags.”
For these solutions to be viable, consumers need to be recycling.
“Creating these pencil bags was a visual way to show the learners how plastic packaging can be repurposed if they recycle. We believe this can help drive good recycling habits from a young age.”
Nel adds that they have also partnered with PETCO – SA’s leading PET plastic industry’s Producer Responsibility Organisation – to provide posters and workbooks to selected primary schools in the next month to further promote the importance of recycling.
Encouraging recycling habits has been a focus of the Pick n Pay School Club since 2019 and last year they introduced an Environmental Awareness category in the popular School Club Hero Awards’ which celebrates everyday acts of heroism, such as bravery, kindness, and tolerance. The new category aims to promote care for the environment by encouraging learners to implement the 3 R’s – Reduce, Re-use, Recycle – and environmental-focused clubs in schools.