School’s Eco Warriors launch clothing recycling scheme to benefit environment and disadvantaged families

Primary school children at Fatfield Academy Inspires have been recycling “unwanted or unloved” clothing to benefit both the environment and families in need.

With the Washington academy already recycling paper and plastics, pupils in the school’s Eco Warriors Team decided to extend the initiative to cover items of clothing, providing both economic and environmental benefits.

Eco Warrior Esmae Hignett, nine, said: “We started with just putting in old uniform items which were sent to children in Ghana but we then thought what about all the other items of clothing we have?"

Fellow Warrior Harry Stacey, 10, added: “As well as reducing waste, the clothing can also be used to help other people.”

Year 6 pupil Grace Clark, 10, said: “I’ve been putting in clothes which no longer fit such as t-shirts and leggings and my mam has also donated her old clothes.”

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The school have teamed up with North East based company, Fundraise and Recycle Limited, who’ve provided a donation station and will pay money for the clothing items which can then be reinvested into school projects.

Deputy headteacher, Nicky Dowdle, said: “We’ve had two collections so far. The first in December, saw the company collect 201 kilograms while last month’s was £195 kilograms – for which we received over £200.


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Fatfield Academy Inspires Deputy Headteacher Nicky Dowdle with members of the Eco Warrior team donating items at the new clothing recycling station.

"While the good quality clothing is distributed to disadvantaged families, the money raised is going to be invested into other green projects which the children decide on.

"One of those is the development of a sensory nature garden which will have wooden benches, water features, wild flowers, trees and bird feeders. It’s also important that children learn about the importance of sustainability as they’re the future and if we invest in them then change will happen.”

Headteacher Tracey Pizl added: “The parents love the initiative and it’s important to educate the children about reducing our waste as they’re the generation who will be effected most and are the decision makers of tomorrow.”


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Fatfield Academy Inspires Deputy Headteacher Nicky Dowdle with the school's Eco Warriors at the new clothing recycling station.

The donation station is based in the school car park, which is open weekdays from 8am until 5.30pm, and members of the wider community are invited to make use of the facility.

Eco Warrior Charlie Pinder, 10, said: “It’s important to protect the environment, otherwise it won’t be here forever and that will be not good for anyone – people or animals.”


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