Zero Waste Scotland challenged pupils from Neilston Primary School and Busby Primary School to create a school recycling mascot at home.
The competition saw pupils aged between 7 and 12 design and create an entirely recyclable mascot sculpture made from waste items found at home and accepted by East Renfrewshire council for recycling.

Finlay Parkin, who is in primary 6 was crowned as winner of Busby Primary School with his expertly crafted hermit crab made from egg cartons, card from snack boxes and featuring a yoghurt pot shell.

Alfie Gardiner, a Neilston Primary School pupil in primary 4, created the winning entry for his school out of many common household items including a cereal box, a tin can, carboard tubes and plastic bottles to create a friendly recycling robot.

Waste management and recycling services across Scotland have been impacted heavily due to COVID-19. To keep householders informed of the ways in which they can support their local authority and waste management teams, Zero Waste Scotland in partnership with SEPA, COSLA and the Scottish Government is raising awareness about recycling with children and parents through initiatives such as this school competition, ensuring they’re familiar with what items can and cannot be recycled in their local area.

In order for the mascots to be fully recyclable, pupils had to consider clever ways to engineer the design as typical adhesive materials such as glue, tape and staples cannot be recycled, therefore could not be used in construction.

Linda Murray, ECO co-ordinator at Neilston Primary School, said: “The kids were very excited to get stuck in and work together with their households to create the mascots. We are proud of what they have been able to make out of things that would usually go in the recycling bin!”

Lauren Brysland, upper school ECO champion at Busby Primary School, said: “This competition got our pupils in tune with what can and can’t be recycled in the home in a fun, creative way. They really had to think outside the box to ensure it was recycling-friendly when constructed.”

Zero Waste Scotland had the tricky task of judging the entries and choosing the winners. Following the success of the competition, it is now encouraging families across Scotland to check what their local authority accepts in their recycling bins to see if they can create their own 100% recyclable recycling mascot.

Claire Munro, Recycling Communications Manager at Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Selecting the winner from each school was not an easy task. We were very impressed with the amount of enthusiasm and work the budding artists put into this project, and we’ll be showcasing some of the artwork on our social channels.

“With COP26 on the horizon we saw this competition as a fun way to engage youngsters with sorting household recycling. We hope this will have made an impression on them, impacting their attitude to recycling from a young age.

“This is also a great rainy day Easter holiday activity, giving those inspired by this competition a chance to get crafty with their household recycling. The beauty of the materials used means creations can also be taken apart and recycled later.”

To keep up to date with any temporary service disruptions, and for tips on how to manage your waste at home, visit managingourwaste.scot.