Circular economy

Recycling&Growing: children initiative in Milan

Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian

176 schools in Milan to build a vertical garden with a kit made of recycled plastic from canteen plates.

Doing environmental education, applying circular economy principles and playing with dirt. This are the aims of “Riciclo e Coltivo” (“Recycling&Growing”), a project by Corepla, in cooperation with Milano Ristorazione, Municipality of Milan and Amsa, involving 176 kindergartens of the city of Milan.

For some time now, all Milan schools have been practising waste sorting at the end of meals, and recently a few institutes have started involving their pupils in taking care of a garden, depending on the availability of suitable spaces.

However, not all schools have the space to make a garden. A solution to this problem is the vertical garden, with a kit of pots and gardening tools to grow aromatic herbs and vegetables in the space of a shelf. The garden is actually based on a set of shelves with 12 pots and a watering can, all made with recycled plastic coming from the disposable dishes and cutlery of each school’s canteen.

Children will have the opportunity to see with their own eyes what can be done with the correct recycling of a plastic dish or cup, and at the same time they will discover how food leftovers can be transformed into compost and become a rich nutrition for the plants they will grow at school.

So far, the project allowed the recovery and recycling of 12 thousand kg of plastic material, which now serve to host basil, parsley, oregano, salad, radish, lettuce, peas, spinach and tomatoes.

“With the idea of the vertical garden we managed to realize a useful product for the educational activities of children in kindergartens – explained Gabriella Iacono, chair of Milano Ristorazione – and at the same time we are doing something important at the ecological level by transforming plastic plates into new useful objects. It’s an innovative project that meets the environmental needs of a big city like Milan”.

“Promoting waste sorting and plastic packaging recycling in school environments teaches children to think about the future – added Giorgio Quagliuolo, president of Corepla – The vertical garden, which is fully made of recycled plastic, allows them to concretely experience the rebirth of materials. This is all the more important for Milan, the first among big Italian cities in plastic recycling rankings”.

“Sowing seeds and observing the growth of the most common aromatic plants such as basil, oregano, parsley is an educational project that children are always very enthusiastic about since an early age – said Francesco Cappelli, Councillor for Education – Now, thanks to the new shelves of recycled plastic, kindergarten children and teachers will have the chance to grow a garden, like many institutes in Milan have already been doing. With this project children will have an opportunity to learn what recycling means, by following the transformation of a used product, in this case a plastic plate, into a new object, such as a plant pot”.

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