It may sound bizarre, but schools might one day be built entirely out of recycled plastic.
Danone NutriDay aims to convert its yoghurt tubs into strong light-weight bricks to build two classrooms by the end of 2022.
Its Tubs2Classrooms initiative encourages children to clean and bring used yoghurt tubs to school, which will be converted into bricks through the support of its partners, Pick ‘n Pay and Interwaste.
According to Danone South Africa, the innovation has allowed plastic waste from yoghurt tubs to be converted into décor items like cornices, clothing hangers, and light-weight bricks for housing and other structures.
NutriDay has identified 80 primary schools and will educate the schools’ pupils about responsible plastic recycling. Children will be asked to bring their used yoghurt tubs to school, which will then be transformed into bricks.
South Africa’s Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Barbara Creecy supports the Tubs2Classrooms project.
“What better way to prove that waste has value, than to convert used yoghurt tubs into bricks to build much-needed classrooms for our communities,” said Creecy.
“The achievement of a circular economy is directly reliant on the collaboration between the government and the private sector. The department would like to extend its support and appreciation for the waste beneficiation efforts made by Danone in collaboration with its partners.”
Leanne Kiezer, Corporate Affairs Manager at Danone Southern Africa, said the Tubs2Classrooms project aims to collect and repurpose close to 500,000 tubs this year.
This comes after the company in 2021 converted 19 tons of plastic from its yoghurt containers into school desks.
They also donated 230 school desks made from recycled yoghurt cups to seven early childhood development (ECD) schools in Ekurhuleni.