By Harriet Whitehead
These school kids have built their own CLASSROOM out of 3,000 plastic bottles.
Pupils at St Mary’s RC Primary School in Accrington, Lancashire, turned two tonnes of recycled plastic into ‘eco bricks’ to build the environmentally friendly area.
The outdoor classroom includes a reading area, tables and chairs and a hut made entirely of plastic bottles stuffed with cellophane and plastic wrappers.
The kids used wooden spoons to mash cellophane and plastic wrappings into milk cartons and two litre bottles they collected from parents, friends and the community to make the bricks, which weigh 700g each.
Headteacher Michael Mashiter, 42, said: “There was nothing in the playground before, but now we have a proper eco classroom with tables and benches, a board, a reading hut and beach hut.
“We managed to make 3,000 bricks, which equates to about two tonnes of plastic that we’ve saved from going to landfill.
“Of those, 600 were used to build the beach hut, which is now a permanent part of the outdoor classroom.
“We got the local community involved in collecting plastic and the children helped to build the desks, the benches and the hut themselves.
“The bricks themselves are really strong and it’s amazing how much plastic you can fit into each one.
“It takes two weeks to create a single brick because you have to use a wooden spoon to mash the plastic inside it down.”
Mr Mashiter found out about the scheme through a Catholic charity which had helped to make similar bricks to build schools in Cambodia.
It aims to teach kids about the environment and reduce the amount of plastic entering the ocean.
Mr Mashiter added: “The kids love being outdoors and now every class can have a full lesson out there.
“They now have so many practical learning opportunities and can benefit from the fresh air.
“We wanted to make the children aware of how much plastic we produce, how much we use and encouraging them to recycle and reuse things.
“Over the last year we’ve been learning about our carbon footprint and how it compares to developing countries.
“There’s not much awareness of that and the government do not seem to be doing much.
“These are lessons they will take through their life. It’s only in the last few years that it’s hit home the damage we do to the environment.
“I want these children to be aware of it from an early age.”
Mr Mashiter said the children were shocked to see how much plastic they used and how many eco bricks they managed to create with the help of the community.
The reading hut was last week displayed on Brighton Beach before being returned to the playground.
It is thought as much as 12.7 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the world’s oceans, lakes and rivers every year.
He added: “I’m also grateful for the community for getting involved in it. We’ve had so much support and we want to build on that.”