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Pupils from Hamilton Grammar School make a canny donation to their new Every Can Counts can crusher

Canny thinking

A new recycling initiative in South Lanarkshire is hoping to inspire 18,000 students and staff to make their drinks cans 'count'

Posted by Dave Higgitt | May 03, 2015 | Sustainability

New can crushers have been installed at all 17 of South Lanarkshire education authority’s secondary schools as part of a campaign developed by Every Can Counts, with funding from Zero Waste Scotland. The initiative adds to the variety of recycling opportunities already available in schools across the area. As well as the can crushers students have been given supporting literature and classes on the importance of recycling to help further raise awareness, in line with the Scottish government’s Zero Waste Plan and the country’s ambition to create a circular economy.

Jamie Cameron, Scottish programme manager for Every Can Counts, said: “Every year 252 million drinks cans are consumed in Scotland, of which an estimated 40 percent are recycled. Increasing this by just 10 percent would make a huge difference.

“In our experience, young people are often the most passionate about protecting the environment and through this project we aim to build on that. If we can get students and young people in the habit of recycling when they’re at school, the likelihood is that they’ll keep up the habit for life.

“We are greatly appreciative to Zero Waste Scotland, whose funding has enabled us to deliver this exciting programme. The enthusiasm shown by the students for the project has been really rewarding.”

Stephen Kelly, head of facilities, waste and grounds services at South Lanarkshire Council, said: “As a council we already have a variety of opportunities in place to ensure that the food waste, paper, cardboard and plastics that schools produce can be recycled and composted.

“The introduction of the 17 can crushers will add yet further to this by allowing pupils to recycle the drinks cans they bring into schools, rather than disposing of them in standard waste bins, or as litter. We hope that giving the pupils such a hands-on role will make them think a little more about what happens to the waste they produce.”

All of the drinks cans collected will be processed and recycled by Motherwell-based social enterprise LAMH Recycle Ltd.

Every Can Counts is funded by the UK’s drinks can manufacturers, recyclers and fillers. In Scotland the programme receives additional funding from Zero Waste Scotland and soft drinks manufacturer AG Barr plc. The programme aims to increase the number of drinks cans recycled, whether at work or whilst out and about, by providing practical advice and support, including free communication materials and help with finding a recycling collection partner.

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