Students celebrate their recycling efforts

For Year 7 and 8 students at St Mary’s Primary School, Savalalo, collecting plastics and aluminium cans is a completely normal part of life.

Since about 2013, teachers and students alike have been diverting recyclable waste from the regular rubbish stream and instead turning it into attractive and interesting projects, like the plastic bottle fence surrounding the gardens.

One of the teachers involved with the recycling project, Theresa Anitelea said although it was a challenge at first, by 2015 it was routine and students were collecting eagerly.

One of those students is Vaeleti, who said the recycling project has been really fun.

“We know how to make a fence of bottles, that’s fun,” she said.

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“Our parents say we have to teach them how to make one as well.”

Integrating recycling and waste education into the daily life of children is a way to ensure the young generation understands the impacts of waste on the environment, said Marina Keil, president of Samoa Waste Recycling Management Association. 

The students explained how at the beginning of their project this year, they brainstormed how to use the plastic bottles they collected.

Vaeleti explains they decided to replace their aluminium can fence, which had rusted with plastic bottles, which they said would protect the plans from the elements.

“People need to know there is a use for waste,” she said, to much nodding and agreement from her classmates.

“It was embarrassing at first to pick up rubbish, people would tell us not to, because they didn’t know you can make something with it.”

To Samoa, the students have a challenge. They want everyone to try making things with recyclables, instead of throwing it in the bin.

The students are part of a competition run by Leadership Samoa 2016. The winners will be announced next month.

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