Otewa School leads recycling

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This story appeared in Waitomo News 19 February

You have to think outside the square when it comes to inventing new ways to recycle.

And that’s exactly what 11-year-old Otewa School student Jack Smith did when he designed a water purification tank out of empty milk cartons for a national recycling challenge. Judges were impressed with Jack’s innovative design. So much so that he won the National Fonterra Milk for Schools 2014 Recycling Design Challenge gold trophy.

But the accolades didn’t stop there. Saving the empty cartons is an important part of the Milk in Schools scheme with students taught how to fold them. Each carton must be emptied of liquid and folded tight for the Fonterra Milk in Schools deliverymen to collect and be recycled.

Then each term, the deliverymen nominate schools in their region that are the best at recycling. Fonterra representative Hannah Hope says Otewa School was better than schools “from the top of the North Island, right to Stewart Island” at disposing the milk cartons.

The 48 Otewa students proved they could “drink it dry, fold it flat, send it back” better than the 1498 other schools involved in the Fonterra scheme. Principal Suzanne Wright couldn’t be more proud of her students’ commitment to recycling as Otorohanga mayor Max Baxter congratulated students and Jack for their awards. “It just goes to show that school like ours might be small but we are better than many others. It’s our rural and farming principles that make us who we are and that showed through in the kids’ winning the Fonterra’s best recyclers.”

As a result of their recycling win, Fonterra is providing Otewa students with a $5000 plant growing unit from the Trees for Survival Charitable Trust. This will give the school the opportunity to grow as many as 500 trees per year, and aims to help youngsters connect with their community to re-vegetate erosion-prone land. Fonterra is also undertaking to pay the annual Trees for Survival fee.


A proud moment for Otewa School; award winning innovative design and best disposal of milk cartons

Embracing recycling

Fonterra Milk for Schools delivers milk to 72% of New Zealand primary schools with more than 33 million cartons drunk since the national rollout in May 2013.

They are then sent to Thailand and Malaysia and turned into roof tiles and books.

Fonterra Milk for Schools In-Schools programme manager Louise Aitken says, “Recycling is an integral part of the programme and it’s great that schools are embracing it. Fonterra is committed to sustainability and through our Fonterra Milk for Schools programme we are helping teach future generations about the importance of recycling and sustainability.”

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