Schools perfect the art of recycling

A project to divert business waste from landfill could save schools from mounting bills on art materials.

The ReCreate Revolution aims to see everything from recyclables to waste reused in schools and colleges to foster children’s creative skills through art, drama and other subjects.

More than 90 businesses are already having their excess and unwanted materials collected, including Bewleys, Ikea, Smurfit Kappa, and Ricoh Ireland. The materials are then made available for member schools, colleges, community groups, and special needs settings, which can make unlimited visits to the supplies warehouse for annual fees ranging from €100 to €250 a year.

ReCreate Ireland director Dara Connolly said more than 600 members are already signed up and availing of the growing ‘warehouse of wonders’.

The initiative is now reaching out to communities to inspire creativity and plans to facilitate more than 100 free arts and crafts workshops around the country.

“The idea is to spread the message that all kinds of everyday products can be used as fantastic art materials. The simplicity and effectiveness of this creative reuse concept has to be experienced to be believed,” he said.

“The workshops will be facilitated by professional artists using items that are a delight to the senses and are all salvaged from industry, such as wool, paper, plastics, fabric, tubing and foam. They are tactile and ‘hands-on’, enforcing visual learning, decision-making, inventiveness, and other skills,” Mr Connolly said.

With a slogan of ‘Make Art, Not Waste’, it is hoped to run workshops in schools, creches, community centres and other venues.

The project has received funding from the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and the Department of Environment’s Local Agenda 21 fund to promote small-scale environmental projects.

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