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Recycle Week Case Study: Blackwell Primary School, Alfreton

This Recycle Week, change is in your hands and our Glass Guardians programme has sparked a number of little acts of activism. Blackwell Primary School in Alfreton embody that with their Tough Tomatoes environmental action group.


When it comes to positive action on the environment, The Tough Tomatoes get things done. This self-named group, formed by the school children at Blackwell Primary School in Alfreton, Derbyshire, is constantly busy with actions that help the environment – the latest of which has been learning all about the benefit of glass. This is the second year that Blackwell has participated in Glass Guardians, an initiative from British Glass and the National Schools Partnership created to educate children about the 100% recyclability and sustainability benefits of glass.

“The children really love hands-on activities. We do lots of these through The Tough Tomatoes group, such as gardening, recycling, composting. Glass Guardians has lots of environmentally-themed actions to do so it linked into what we were doing really well” explains School Office Manager Stuart White, who helps with the running of the group.

“For example, we’ve been teaching them about sustainability and how we can all do our bit to leave the planet in a better state” he explains “As part of Glass Guardians, Classes 1 and 2 have been experimenting with using empty glass jars as plant pots to grow seedlings in, highlighting the reuse benefits of glass. “It can be quite a challenge to keep the younger ones engaged, but they really enjoyed this” says Stuart.

Stuart thinks one of the most useful things about Glass Guardians is that it helps the children think about waste and the importance of reuse and recycling, not just in the classroom but at home too. “Anything that encourages the children to think through environmental issues for themselves is very valuable” says Stuart “We don’t just teach a set curriculum at Blackwell because we’re always looking for opportunities for the children to learn about the world in different ways. The Glass Guardians fitted really well with this”. Stuart also admits that in this age of austerity when budgets are tight, having excellent learning resources provided free of charge is a great help.

The pack of ready-to-use resources are one of the highlights of Glass Guardians for Stuart “They are easy to adapt to whatever you need. There are wet day activities and those that fit into the lunchtime period. There is always something I can use. It also links across the curriculum, providing learning opportunities in other subjects.”

Glass Guardians even earned its own stand at the school’s Summer Fayre. “The children enjoyed preparing for this and it gave them a great opportunity to show off what they have been learning” says Stuart. And another example of The Tough Tomatoes getting things done!

Blackwell Primary School aren’t the only ones who have made a difference through our Glass Guardians programme. Take a look at our other case studies from around the country this Recycle Week.