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Watch as Sunderland pupils recycle crisp packets to make foil insulation blankets to help the homeless

Sandhill View Academy pupils have been recycling crisp packets to make foil blankets to send to Ukrainian refugees and to donate to homeless people in Sunderland.

By Neil Fatkin
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 2:19 pm

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The crisp packets are the same material as used in standard foil insulation blankets in which the foil reflects escaping body heat allowing it to be retained close to the skin.

The initiative was the idea of the school’s Eco Team who’d been looking at ways to recycle crisp packets, which take around 80 years to decompose. After making crisp packet recycling bins which are located around the school, students collected around 1,000 packets which were sent to the Crisp Packet Project – a charity which would then convert them into insulation blankets.

However, after last week taking part in a workshop with a representative from the charity, the children have learned how to make their own foil blankets and have already made a large number to donate.

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The blankets will be sent to Sunderland Salvation Army and the children hope the remainder will help homeless Ukrainian refugees.

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Payton Lancaster, 12, said: “It’s really important to recycle the packets as not only is it helping the environment but it can also help homeless people keep warm.”

Macie Sloane, 13, added: “I think it’s a good idea to send them to Ukraine as well as helping homeless people. It’s good the crisp packets are going to a good use rather than ruining the environment.”

Pupils with one of their foil blankets made out of recycled crisp packets. (left to right) Charlie Hutchinson, 13, Peyton Lancaster, 12, Jay Ferry, 13, and Mitchell Peggie, 13.

To make the blankets, the packets were cut open and washed before an iron was used to fuse the foil together.

Mitchell Peggie, 13, said: “I’ve really enjoyed the project. The blankets are pretty easy to make.”

Jay Ferry, 13, added: “The foil provides insulation to keep people warm and it’s a good idea to provide these blankets to people who are homeless and don’t have shelter.”

(left) Marcie Sloan, 13, and Katie Belford, 12, using an iron to fuse the crisp packets together.

While processing revealed “salt and vinegar was the most popular choice”, Charlie Hutchinson, 13, decided to make his entire blanket out of roast chicken packets.

He said: “It’s not my favourite flavour but I just thought it made a nice pattern.”

The project was coordinated by teaching support assistant Megan Kirk who said: “It’s important to protect the environment while at the same time supporting the community. The project made us realise how many packets of crisps we eat.”