STORIES about ‘making do’ during the Great Depression are the driving force behind a unique recycling project at Chidlow Primary School.
The Remake Place project architect and parent Jamie Dadd said the idea for students to turn rubbish into useful items started from a love of hearing stories from the olden days.
“When I was a kid, my grandparents told stories, about making do in the depression, of the rationing and shortages of World War II, and their ingenuity at turning other people’s rubbish into the things they desperately needed,” he said.
“They recycled because they had to and their needs were immediate.
“I identified completely; no kid I knew had the money to satisfy their imagination. So a cardboard box became a pirate ship, and the bulk rubbish collection our Bunnings.
“Kids are the best recyclers, and kids are the best at finding value in the things we discard.”
Mr Dadd said the Remake Place was a little recycling centre at the school that would allow kids to bring the rubbish they collect from surrounding bushland and convert it in to something valuable.
He said the first project was to produce medals for the school’s 2019 sports carnival.
“We are currently at prototype number 19, and we are getting very close to a production design,” he said.
“There have been many mistakes along the way and the kids have been kept very amused with the stories of early catastrophic failures.
“But the future is vast for our little venture and we are looking for funding and support to modify a shed at the school into a centre suitable for our needs.”
In 2016, Chidlow Primary School won a Sustainable Schools WA Waste Wise grant to build machines to help with the recycling project.
Mr Dadd thanked the Mundaring Men’s Shed for building Chippy, which shreds recycled plastic parts into confetti pieces, and Mouldy, which takes the plastic pieces and moulds them.
“Currently Chippy is chipping up a scary amount of drink container lids of various colours, the yellow lid, being the lid of greatest value and much sought after because of its comparison to the gold medal,” he said.“Meanwhile Mouldy has gone through many iterations, a small fire and very bad welding.
“Unlike commercial moulding machines, every part that mouldy makes is uniquely different.
“Admittedly, this characteristic was frustrating at first, until a child suggested that it will be awesome to win a one of a kind medal.
“We like how she thinks.”
Mr Dadd said the project would be used to improve student outcomes by showing kids how recycling is reused and by giving them creative input into what it can become.
“By making them an integral part of the science required to turn something like a plastic bottle top they currently, can’t recycle, into something they value highly enough to run faster on sports day is an invaluable lesson.”