With Washington’s academy already recycling paper and plastic, students from the school’s Eco Warriors team decided to extend the initiative to clothing, providing both economic and environmental benefits.
Eco Warrior Nine-year-old Esmae Hignett said: “We started out just putting on old uniform items that were sent to children in Ghana, but then we thought what about all the other clothes that we have ?”
Journeyman warrior Harry Stacey, 10, added: “As well as reducing waste, the clothes can also be used to help other people.”
Year 6 student Grace Clark, 10, said: ‘I put on clothes that don’t fit anymore like t-shirts and leggings and my mum donated her old clothes as well.’
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The school has partnered with a North East-based company, Fundraise and Recycle Limited, which has provided a donation station and will pay money for the clothes which can then be reinvested in school projects.
Assistant manager Nicky Dowdle said: “We’ve had two collections so far. The first in December the company collected 201 kilograms while last month was 195 kilograms – for which we received over 200 pounds.
“While good quality clothes are distributed to underprivileged families, the money raised will be invested in other green projects that the children decide.
“One of them is the development of a natural sensory garden which will have wooden benches, water features, wildflowers, trees and bird feeders. It is also important for children to learn the importance of sustainability as they are the future and if we invest in them then change will happen.
Director Tracey Pizl added: “Parents love the initiative and it’s important to educate children about reducing our waste as they are the generation that will be most affected and who are the decision makers of tomorrow.”
The donation station is based in the school parking lot, which is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and members of the wider community are welcome to use the facility.
Eco Warrior Charlie Pinder, 10, said: ‘It’s important to protect the environment otherwise it won’t be there forever and it won’t be good for anyone – people or animals.