Wingham High School recycling plastic lids for Envision Hands

Helping hands: Miranda Frendin, Amber Loretan and Lea Urquhart with the lids they have collected so far. Photo: Julia Driscoll
Helping hands: Miranda Frendin, Amber Loretan and Lea Urquhart with the lids they have collected so far. Photo: Julia Driscoll

We're all pretty aware that plastic bottles, such as milk and soft drink, can be recycled. But did you know that the lids can also be recycled?

Next time you take a lid off a plastic milk, soft drink or cordial bottle, for example, take a look under the lid. If it has a number '2' or '4' recycling symbol on it, or if it doesn't have a number, don't throw it away! Collect them to give to the Wingham High School instead. They are only collecting small lids, not spread-jar sized.

The Wingham High School environment group, made up of Student Representative Council (SRC) members, is collecting the bottle tops, which are then used to do something incredible - being made into prosthetic limbs through a 3D printer through an Australian project called Envision Hands.

It's been eye opening to see how disgusting we are as humans with plastic.

Amber Loretan

These self-powered limbs are then donated to young people (and older) in need in Australia and in disadvantaged countries so they can do simple things such as picking up a cup or holding a fork.

Year nine students Lea Urquhart, Amber Loretan, and Miranda Frendin are heading the cause at Wingham High School, and are asking the community to donate lids.

The environment group started collecting at the end of May. Up until now only the SRC has been doing it but they are now trying to expand to rest of school and local community.

They are planning a role out of collection points at the Return and Earn reverse vending machine behind Wingham Services Club, in the main street at a fish and chip shop and anywhere else they can come up with. Closer to 'home', they are putting one near the school canteen, and in every staff room.

"We're hopefully going to contact the Rotary and Lions clubs about maybe supporting some containers and stuff," Lea said.

The project started after Amber took part in the Project Loggerhead Turtle Workshop run by Take 3 for the Sea at Taree in April this year. As part of the workshop, students are encouraged to go back to their schools and create their own projects to make an environmental difference.

If we don't act now, scientists say in the next 12 years there's no turning back.

Miranda Frendin

"It's been eye opening to see how disgusting we are as humans with plastic." Amber said.

What has started out as a project for the school has ended up a personal passion for each of the three girls.

"Seeing all these videos about animals and the ocean being so polluted has helped some of us kids personally want to bring our use of plastic down. If we don't act now, scientists say in the next 12 years there's no turning back," Miranda said.