Danone, who champions plastic recycling and the transition to a circular economy, launched its ‘Healthy Habits Recycling Lab’ to educate the children and families taking part in the competition and help change their behaviour long-term.
The regional finals took place over nine events across England throughout March. Following on from this, the Recycling Lab will be taken to the ESFA Danone Nations Cup National Finals at Stoke City FC stadium on 20 May.
To bring the plastic recycling initiative to life, Danone commissioned a recycling bin in the shape of an XXL football trophy and two bespoke machines to demonstrate the process of recycling on-the-spot: a shredder and a moulding machine. First, the children collected empty water bottles inside the huge trophy bin. The bottles were then crushed into small flakes inside the shredder. Next, the children were shown a variety of objects that recycled PET can be turned into, e.g. clothing such as football shirts.
The second part of the recycling lab, the moulding machine, was used to create medals out of recycled plastics. Small, coloured pellets were filled into the recycling machine, heated, and melted to create a viscous, formable mass. A tailor-made mould was then used to form the medals that were given to the children. Danone worked with recycling charity RECOUP to make the Recycling Lab happen.
By taking part in this initiative, Danone and the schoolchildren are reported to have beaten the Tokyo Olympics to the punch, as it was announced earlier this year that their 2020 medals will be made from recycled mobile phones.
Marie Wendling, PR and events manager at Danone, said: “We hope this initiative will inspire the children, teach them about the importance of recycling, and help bring about a change in behaviour when they next throw away their plastic bottles.”
Stuart Foster, CEO at RECOUP, added: “There was a lot of interest from supporters and players in the Recycling Lab; this was an exciting way to demonstrate the recycling journey.”
2.5 million children worldwide are reported to take part in the Danone Nations Cup each year, with 3,000 schools competing in the English leg run by the English Schools’ Football Association.
The ESFA Danone Nations Cup is a FIFA-approved tournament which has been given the Government’s ‘Inspired by 2012’ seal of approval. According to Danone, it is an annual highlight in its ongoing programme of support for healthy lifestyles through education, fun, and fair play, which includes its ‘Eat Like A Champ’ healthy eating initiative.