Students Tackle Single-Use Products

Enterprising students raised money for PPE recycling bins to be installed in the three main buildings at the College’s campus.

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One of the recycling bins sited on the campus

As part of an enterprise activity class, a group of students decided to raise the funds needed to install PPE recycling bins in college to tackle the growing problem of the litter and landfill caused by single-use items, in particular masks, which students and staff are required to wear on campus. The difficult to recycle items will be processed by a specialist company who will use the materials to create new products.

Business and Administration student Eleanor Callaghan explained: “We noticed a dramatic increase in litter caused by masks and wanted to do something positive. Masks are difficult to recycle, but we found a company that could turn rubbish caused by PPE into useful items like benches and furniture.”

Working along with HISA Perth - the Highland and Islands Students Association, the Business and Administration students ran a raffle to raise the necessary funds. Local businesses such as Rabbit Hole Cakes, Blend, Sandemans and the Woodland Trust donated prizes for the raffles.

“Contacting local businesses took me out of my comfort zone, but it was good experience” said student Mark Cooke. “Their generosity, along with lecturers who donated prizes helped us to turn an idea into reality.”

The students were delighted to be able to order three recycling bins with the money raised. “It has been really rewarding to see the recycling bins in place, see that our teamwork has paid off and we have taken some positive action to tackle the single use plastic problem caused by PPE” added Eleanor.

With the requirement to wear a mask likely ending in April, it is thought that masks, gloves and lateral flow tests will be used to a lesser extent, so the recycling bins will help to play an important part in tackling the issue of single use PPE items in Perth.

Lecturer Alison Kirk said: “The students worked tirelessly to source a company that could recycle the masks and raised more than £280 to fund the project. Thank you to everyone who supported them including HISA, Arlene in Reprographics and the Perth College UHI marketing team. It’s fantastic that students and staff have the opportunity to recycle their masks responsibly and do something positive to help the environment.”