St Aidan’s pupils come clean with bottle banks

St Aidan's Boy's Catholic School charity recycling scheme.
Headteacher Kevin Shepherd and Kim Huiston from Wilson and Post Office store
St Aidan's Boy's Catholic School charity recycling scheme. Headteacher Kevin Shepherd and Kim Huiston from Wilson and Post Office store
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Ecologocially-minded pupils at a Sunderland secondary school have got a lot of bottle when it comes to going green.

A bottle bank has been set up in the school yard at St Aidan’s Catholic Academyto help students keep the streets clear.

The council gave us a lot of old wheelie bins and so we have set up a refuge area in the yard for collecting bottles.

Kevin Shepherd

The school, in Willow Bank Road, launched its recycling campaign after residents nearby complained about rubbish on the streets.

For the length of Lent, the 900 students of the school and sixth form were asked to ensure any plastic bottles they were finished with were put into the special bins to be recycled.

The project, which looks set to continue after the Easter break due to its success, has helped raise almost £2,000 for charity WaterAid, with a donation to be made through the school and match-funded by from Wilson’s Convenience Store in Queen Alexandra Road.

The littering issue has increased in the area after the bin collections outside the business was cut from three times a week to one.

Headteacher Kevin Shepherd said: “I spoke to the students at the start of Lent, and rather than give something up, we looked at what we could give back.

“The council gave us a lot of old wheelie bins and so we have set up a refuge area in the yard for collecting bottles.

“We have encouraged the boys to use them.

“It’s something that has been improved, and now we’re recycling better.

“We are just one school in the area and a lot of rubbish isn’t to do with us, because there have been cans of lager, and we’re right in the middle of a student area, but we are doing our little bit.”

The school has praised caretaker Ernie Laws who set up the recycling area and has helped count up the bags of bottles as the bins have been filled.

Last year’s Lent project saw the school halt the sale of sugary drinks and offer just water in a fund-raiser for Catholic charity Cafod’s Make a Splash appeal, with the move made permanent because it went well.

Natalie Cowell runs Wilson’s with sister Kim Huitson.

The shop has been marking up plastic bottles to help monitor how many have been recycled and trace them back to the store if found on the street.

Natalie said: “From our point of view we are very supportive because we know a lot of rubbish has been coming from our store and we value our place in the community and want it to look clean.

“We’re pleased St Aidan’s has got in the extra bins and we would encourage everyone to put their waste in a bin.”