Recycle, recreate and retail: Local school helps to launch trailblazing new plastics recycling initiative in Rhondda.

Recycle, recreate and retail: Local school helps to launch trailblazing new plastics recycling initiative in Rhondda.

A local school has helped to mark the launch of a trailblazing community-led initiative that aims to recycle, recreate, and retail single-use plastics in the Rhondda Valley.

Treorchy Primary School has partnered with social enterprise, Soaring Supersaurus based in Penrhys, but working across the valley, to create a currency for recycled plastic within the local community. The innovative new pilot will see children and young people educated on the recycling process, whilst getting them involved in designing and creating their own products for market. 

Soaring Supersaurus collects and reuses local plastic waste to generate unique and sustainable everyday household items which can be purchased across the county. This includes everything from jewellery and coasters to kitchen chairs, stools and tables.

The project has been funded by the Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund through its micro grants. The receipt of £5k has enabled the purchase of a mini-shredder and the development of the school education programme.

Founder of Soaring Supersaurus, Paul Evans

Founder of Soaring Supersaurus, Paul Evans said: “It is estimated that Wales produces 400,000 tonnes of plastic every year but only 33% of household plastic is actually recycled *. If we are to phase out single-use plastics and make Wales the first country to send zero plastic to landfill, we all need to play our part.

“Our pilot project aims to create a community-led initiative in which we inspire different generations to take action.  Rather than simply passing the recycling on to someone else to deal with, we want members of the local community to tackle it head-on.

“Our education programme with the school strives to inspire future generations to become more plastic aware and understand what can be done to address the problem.”

Edward Sprague, class 6 teacher at Treorchy Primary School said, “Sustainability is an important element of the national curriculum these days, but finding new and exciting ways to engage children in the recycling process can be challenging. The Soaring Supersaurus project is a fantastic idea. The children were really excited to be designing their own products knowing they will be created and available for sale in the future.”

The team at Sauring Supersaurus has also set up plastic collection points in outlets around Rhondda where people from the local community can donate their plastic waste, which will then be gathered, shredded, melted and regenerated. The items created will be distributed and sold at these outlets, with customers also being able to commission bespoke pieces of household furniture. Collection and selling points are currently at The Lion Hotel and Green Valley in Treorchy, Clwb Coffi in Tonypandy and Siop Fach Sero in Ferndale.

Kate Breeze, Executive Director of Pen y Cymoedd

Kate Breeze, Executive Director of Pen y Cymoedd said: “Addressing issues like waste to landfill and the recycling of single-use plastics are so important. The fund was set up to not only help support local businesses and organisations but also to help support a strong economy in Wales. By supporting innovative projects like Soaring Supersaurus, we are not only helping to tackle environmental problems, we are also educating and inspiring the next generation to take action.”

The social enterprise has four core aims to educate and inspire the local community, to build a sustainable business model and to generate unique art.

The Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund

The Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund was established in 2017 by energy company Vattenfall and is designed to provide local individuals, groups, organisations, charities and businesses in Upper Neath, Afan, Rhondda and Cynon Valleys with the opportunity to apply for funding to improve and grow a local service, product, project or activity.

Now in its fifth year, the fund has already catalysed a total of £20.1 million of community investment in the Welsh valleys, supporting more than 450 local projects and businesses in its first five years of operation.

For more information on the fund or to apply please click here

For more information on Soaring Supersaurus visit their Facebook page at https://m.facebook.com/SoaringSupersaurus/

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Team @ AberdareOnline

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