Year 9 pupils from Cardinal Newman secondary school have been exploring how to avoid fast fashion and textile waste as part of a new ‘circular schools’ pilot programme.
They’ve been learning about how to re-use clothes, repair clothes, use natural dyes from plants and about fast fashion.
Staying carbon friendly, the group walked to Sussex Wildlife Trust’s Deneway urban nature reserve and learnt how nature is a truly ‘circular’ process, as plant material from the previous season enriches the soil to support new growth.
They spent the afternoon making natural dyes and creating their own textile waste action plan for school.
They are now taking forward their plan, including a Christmas party clothes swap, getting the school’s textile department to mend clothes to sell, and buying trees for the school garden.
Sarah Nield, lead councillor for schools, said: “It was fantastic to hear how enthusiastic young people were about the subject and the action plan they made for the school.
“Clothing has the fourth largest impact on the environment and is a major contributor to the climate and biodiversity crisis.
"The textile industry uses billions of cubic litres of water and a staggering £140m worth is sent to UK landfill every year.* It is so important young people have the opportunity to learn about this impact and feel empowered to take action.”
Brighton & Hove businesses Sew Fabulous showed the pupils how to mend and re-use clothes and Rubymoon talked about developing a sustainable business creating durable fabrics from recycled ‘ghost’ fishing nets.
Circular schools workshops are part of the BLUEPRINT to a Circular Economy project, providing young people in the city with the opportunity to learn about reducing, re-using and recycling – and cut down on using new resources. More workshops will be held on food waste, electronics and plastics.
Brighton & Hove City Council became a partner of the BLUEPRINT to a Circular Economy project earlier this year.
The project has a total budget of 5.6m euros, of which 3.8m euros were provided by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg France (Channel) England programme.
The project will accelerate the transition to a circular economy – the principle of designing out waste and pollution by re-using, repairing and recycling existing resources.
Brighton & Hove’s circular schools programme is delivered by Sussex Wildlife Trust as part of the Brighton & Hove environmental education project (BHee) which is helping schools in the city on their journey to sustainability.