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Club of the Month: Upcycling Club

Upcycling
  • Senior School

Our Upcycling Club was created by the Design, Technology and Engineering department and meets every Wednesday in the Tech base. 

The idea of ‘upcycling’, also known as ‘creative reuse’, encourages pupils to reuse and rejuvenate items of scrap into new life. It  teaches pupils to appreciate the advantages of reusing items, not just environmentally but also considering the social and community benefits too. These include:

  • Saving materials from landfill

  • Ensuring minimum use of new and natural resources

  • Promoting traditional and new age craftsmanship

  • Reducing the use of valuable resources like trees, fuel, and water

  • Offering products with unique designs and patterns

  • Helping support small local businesses, charities and communities

  • Preventing pollution

  • Allowing products to be used to their fullest potential

  • All in all, taking us a step closer to a green planet

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Gregor (S6) helps the younger pupils in the club to upcycle items and explained a number of the group’s success stories, drawing on what he has learnt over the years: 

“Upcycling is a creative club which meets to repurpose thrown-out objects from around the school campus and give them another lease of life as a ‘new’ item. At Upcycling Club we have had great success in how we reuse materials. By using the school’s lathes (machine tools) we turned old PE benches into new bespoke pens which were sold for the Watson’s Malawi Charity Partnership. With the help of the pupils, we have also turned old drums into new wine holders and have sanded and refinished old school tables to once again be used as tables. Personally, I have learned a lot from Upcycling Club, most predominantly the basics of how to use and set up a lathe as a means to creating great, consistent products. It’s both fun and challenging to see how supposed ‘waste’ is turned into something desirable and distinctive. The final outcome is always different as each item’s new ‘look’ depends on who’s making it, allowing our club to be incredibly unique”.

With an array of refurbished items under their belts, our younger pupils discussed what products they’ve particularly enjoyed making this session:

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Alix (S4): "We had fun making Christmas decorations and candle holders from wooden pallets. We designed and cut out our shapes in the workshop to create our festive trinkets which are completely unique and unlike items you might buy in store or online."

Tom (S1): “My favourite project so far was making a pen on a lathe. The pens were actually upcycled from the wooden worktops from the science classrooms. It was quite a tricky process as the pens were carefully cut, drilled and wood-turned on the lathes. The best thing is the ink can be replaced so you have a pen for life! I thought they looked really nice and made a brilliant present for my Grandad.” 

Assistant Principal Teacher of Design, Technology and Engineering, Mr Kaine runs the Upcycling Club along with subject teacher, Mr Marshall and explains the group’s success so far, hoping to encourage some new members to join the team:

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“Over the last 4 years we have rejuvenated items of scrap into new life and raised over £3,000 auctioning some of the products for the Watson's Malawi Partnership - a brilliant achievement for all pupils involved. There have been lots of fantastic creations during this time, from old guitar speakers becoming bedside tables to car steering wheels being turned into clocks. If you have a creative flair and fancy joining the club to make incredibly unique, ‘one of a kind’ products, please do get in touch!”

To purchase any items our club has made, or simply find out more about the products, please visit: https://bit.ly/GWCUpcyclingToBuy 

For more information on joining the Upcycling Club, please speak to Mr Kaine who would be delighted to assist.