Posted: 09/02/2024

County Durham school recycling design competition

RECOUP’s Pledge2Recycle Plastics has joined forces with Durham County Council to launch a county-wide plastics recycling communications and education project. This initiative aims to encourage more County Durham residents to recycle and elevate the quality of plastic packaging recycled in the region through household collections.

As part of the project, a school recycling design competition, funded by the British Plastics Federation and local reprocessing firm Marmax Recycled Products, has been launched. The competition aims to continue to build on positive attitudes and behaviours in relation to recycling whilst at the same time finding creative solutions to recycling challenges.

Children and young people are invited to design a way for people to sort and recycle more items in one of a range of settings:

Bathrooms: to increase recycling of plastic items like shampoo and shower gel bottles, which in County Durham can be recycled at home in the blue-lidded bin

Kitchens: to increase recycling of pots, tubs and trays that come with food, which in County Durham can be recycled at home in the blue-lidded bin

Schools: to increase recycling of food and drinks bags & wrappings, which can be recycled at large supermarkets

Sports venues: to increase recycling of food and drink bags & wrappings, which can be recycled at large supermarkets

The winning design will be produced by Marmax Recycled Products and made from pre-formed recycled plastic sheets and planks which can be cut, shaped, drilled, and screwed together. The planks are 9cm wide and 3cm deep. Participants can find out more and submit their entries at The closing date for entries is 23rd February 2024.

All pupils who enter the competition will receive a certificate of participation, whilst winners will receive a book token, goodie bag as well as the opportunity to see their design go into production at the Marmax Recycled Products factory. The winner’s school will also win new outdoor furniture made from recycled plastic, up to a value of £900 for their school playground such as stages, seating, picnic benches, water tables or table tennis table!

Cllr Mark Wilkes, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and climate change, said: “We are pleased to continue working in partnership with RECOUP to encourage and educate more people around recycling. Each year, the average household uses over 1,000 items – from plastics to cans – but less than half of this is recycled. It’s important we recycle as much as we can because, for every item recycled, we reduce the need to use raw materials, helping save energy and resources.

“Getting our schools involved in this project is also key as it enables us to encourage children to think creatively about how we can recycle more and helps them set environmentally positive habits.”

A spokesperson for Marmax Recycled Products said

“As we manufacture all our outdoor furniture from recycled plastic, and many schools in the region have our products on site, it’s really important for us to support projects like this. If our children have recycling at the forefront of their minds, and can see first hand the positive outcome of recycling, then a sustainable future for our region and beyond is more likely. I look forward to being involved in the judging and seeing what they come up with!”

A spokesperson for the British Plastics Federation said:

“The British Plastics Federation is very pleased to be involved in this competition. Children and young people are really motivated when it comes to protecting the environment and have great, fresh ideas. We look forward to seeing their designs.”


The project is supported by Durham County Council, The British Plastics Federation, Biffa, and Marmax Recycled Products.