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Turning bottle tops into benches

Sitting on a bench made from 186kg of recycled bottle tops collected by St Henry’s Marist College in Glenwood are, from left, Mateo Pillay, 4; Nathan Walters, 7; Emma Scott, 14; Rooney Dangarembwa, 11, and Taylor Mead, 4, all of whom attend the school. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA)

Sitting on a bench made from 186kg of recycled bottle tops collected by St Henry’s Marist College in Glenwood are, from left, Mateo Pillay, 4; Nathan Walters, 7; Emma Scott, 14; Rooney Dangarembwa, 11, and Taylor Mead, 4, all of whom attend the school. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 21, 2022

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Durban - Hundreds of plastic bottle tops that littered Durban’s beaches after the floods will end up in benches.

St Henry’s Marist College in Glenwood noted a spike in the number they collected for their recycling project when their routine lid-collecting campaign intensified after the floods.

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“Unfortunately, we couldn’t start school when we were supposed to (after the floods) because of a lack of water on the campus,” headmaster Stephen Leech told the Independent on Saturday.

“The upside was that it allowed students and staff to go down to the promenade and to the beach and to clean up.”

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Spilling the contents of their school’s bottle top coffers are, from left, St Henry’s Marist College pupils Mateo Pillay, 4; Emma Scott, 14; Rooney Dangarembwa, 11; Nathan Walters, 7, and Taylor Mead, 4. The bench they are sitting on is made of recycled bottle tops. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA)

While their clean-ups saw them picking up all sorts of litter, bottle tops had an added value.

This week the school received its first two plastic benches made from bottle tops. Two more are on their way, said Leech.

It takes 186kg of bottle tops to make one bench.

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There are now about 460kg of plastic in the school’s present bottle top coffers, with more coming in every day, not only from Durban’s beleaguered beaches, but also from the homes and businesses of the broader St Henry’s community.

The bottle top campaign has also stimulated the revival of the school’s environmental club.

“Our environmental club has been in abeyance for a while, but this project has stimulated us to revitalise it again. One of our Grade 10 students has presented a proposal on the back of our bottle top collecting,” said Leech.

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The school has also been active in helping Brettonwood High School, which suffered flood damage, with books.

Staff have collected non-perishable items to help residents of flood-hit Clairwood, where one of them lives.

Apart from having been temporarily without water, the school campus suffered some mudslides and broken trees.

Elsewhere in Glenwood, a parent collected driftwood washed up on the beach during the floods to be sent up to Johannesburg for her son’s university art project.

The Independent on Saturday

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