Sunderland schools reduce carbon footprint with introduction of ties made from recycled plastic bottles

Children at two Sunderland schools will be starting the school year with a new addition to their uniforms in the form of ties made from recycled plastic bottles.

By Neil Fatkin
Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 10:51 am

As part of a whole school uniform change, all pupils at Washington Academy will receive a new school tie made from two plastic bottles, reducing the amount of plastic going to landfill.

Pupils starting Year 7 at Thornhill Academy, which is also part of Consilium Academies, will also receive a new eco-friendly tie allowing the gradual introduction of the new design.

Each tie is made in mill from a yarn produced by the recycled bottles.

The ties were the idea of both schools’ Climate Club members and Green Team students.

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Washington Academy student Elise Johnson, said: “As a Climate Club we think this is a great idea. We have been recycling bottles as a school ourselves and are making our own projects using the plastic. This is also going to work out cheaper for families and will be more affordable.”

Thornhill Academy Green Team student Aliya Ospanova added: “The quality of the ties is really good; you wouldn’t know that they were any different. Given the choice, we would definitely choose eco-friendly ties.

Thornhill Academy pupils Aliya Ospanova, Mubarakah Yusuf and Lewis Robinson wearing the new ties made from recycled plastic bottles.

“In our school alone, moving to these eco-ties means 1,200 less bottles ending up in landfill. Across our academy trust, that means 12,000 less bottles. Imagine how many bottles wouldn’t make it into landfill if all schools did this.”

The move will help to reduce the schools’ carbon footprint, something welcomed by school leaders

Derek Austwick, headteacher at Washington Academy, said: “We are pleased to be able to offer free ties to all our students next year. We hope it’s one less thing that our families have to worry about.

"Our new eco-tie won’t only be smart but brilliant for the environment, something that is increasingly becoming essential to our young people.”

Sue Hamilton, headteacher at Thornhill Academy, added: “Uniform is an integral part of school life, but that doesn’t mean it has to be costly or difficult for parents and carers. Sustainability is incredibly important to us as well as our students, so it’s only right that it is front of mind when introducing new and long-term policies such as this.”

To help families with the cost of living crisis and to improve sustainability, with less clothing going to landfill, both schools have also removed the need to buy uniform with logos from exclusive providers, with items of clothing, excluding blazers, now able to be purchased from supermarkets and other high street stores.

David Clayton, Chief Executive at Consilium Academies, said: “The cost of uniforms can be a heavy expense and burden on families, especially those who are feeling the effects of rising living costs.

“Buying branded uniform is unnecessarily expensive. No parent or carer should ever have to struggle to clothe their child for school and that’s why we’ve introduced this policy in all nine schools across our trust, to help every one of our 6,071 children and their families.

“As well as reducing costs for families, I am pleased to say our move to unbranded uniform and the introduction of our eco-tie, will decrease the amount of product going to landfill as well as reduce our carbon footprint significantly.”