In July 2021 Northgate High School were awarded a £10,000 Breckland grant to purchase a plastic recycling machine. Breckland Council Leader, Sam Chapman-Allen, Ian Sherwood, Member Champion for Breckland Sustainable Strategy and Councillor Hilary Bushell recently visited Northgate to see the machine in action.

Year 8 students, Amilie, Esme and Kyra were on hand to demonstrate how the machine works – shredding plastic, such as milk bottles and yoghurt pots into plastic shavings and then melting into plastic sheets. These sheets are being used in various Design Technology projects by students and this is allowing the Design department to promote the recycling and reusing message.

Mr Mottley, who is in charge of Design Technology commented, ‘We are asking pupils and staff to bring in various types of plastics like milk bottles to recycle in our plastic shredder/sheet maker. In lessons, students will be able to shred the plastic and make new reusable plastic to make products like bird houses, speaker casings and clocks. We want our department to be as sustainable and carbon neutral as possible and recycling plastic is a fantastic way to achieve this goal.’  A group of committed students regularly sort and process the items, with support from the Technology Department.

Kyra, who has been involved with the scheme said, ‘Having the opportunity to help the environment is always fulfilling. One of the many great environmental benefits of our plastic recycling machine is that we are doing three helpful things without taking much extra effort. Firstly, we are reducing waste, secondly, we can make new items to be used around school and finally we are saving money by using recycled plastic sheets in our Design Technology lessons. Recycling plastic is also a great way to get involved in practising with machinery and learning to manufacture a flexible material.’ 

Esme, also Year 8, who is part of the School Environment Team commented, ‘Having the plastic machine is really great, we can reuse all the old plastic we don’t need and make really cool projects using the bright coloured plastic. Talking to the councillors was exciting as we got to share our progress and what we have accomplished using the machine. We demonstrated the machine and what we can make using the shredded plastic. Hopefully in the near future they can come back and see just how much we have done and how hard we have worked to save our environment.’

The Councillors were presented with a special plaque, featuring the town’s deer head, made from recycled plastic.