A Smurfit Kappa Recycling paper bank was given some flower power by hardworking volunteers and local children hoping to encourage recycling and deter fly tippers in a district of Birmingham.
Children from local schools and playgroups in the Nechells area of Birmingham contributed to a unique montage to brighten up the new paper and card recycling bank, which was installed in the district’s New Hope Community Park. The project was led by the Nechells in Bloom group, made up of local residents and service providers which work alongside Birmingham City Council’s environmental wardens and street cleansing departments to improve the neighbourhoods around Nechells Ward.
The installation of the bin and the production of the floral montage covering were funded by Smurfit Kappa Recycling together with the local paper mill Smurfit Kappa SSK, in Mount Street where all of paper and card recycled by Birmingham’s residents through the blue box scheme and the Smurfit Kappa Recycling banks is taken for reprocessing.
Veronica Edwards, who helped to set up the Group five years ago, explains what benefits the "petal power" paper banks will bring for the community: "We wanted to make it easier for people in Nechells to recycle their paper and card but had to think carefully about how to deter fly tippers and vandals. We know from experience that when you brighten an area up the crime rate drops. The decorations on the paper bank – and the garden we are planning around it – instantly make the space personal and people do respect that."
Dave Cowing, commercial manager for Smurfit Kappa Recycling in Birmingham said: "We were only too pleased to help Veronica with this community project and are delighted with the end result which is already attracting a lot of positive attention! Anyone using this new paper bank to recycle their paper and card is helping to reduce the Nechells carbon footprint because the contents end up at the Smurfit Kappa paper mill just 400 metres away where they are used to make new packaging materials."
Paul Freeman, operations director at Smurfit Kappa SSK, said: "The Smurfit Kappa paper mill has long played an active role in the Nechells community. We are always keen to work with local schools to educate young people about the manufacturing processes involved in paper making and the importance of recycling."
Jackie Jones, Principal Playworker at the Nechells Play Centre, said: "The children have really enjoyed designing the bin and it’s been a fun way for them to learn about recycling. It has also provided them with a good introduction to the importance of environmental issues in general and reinforces the work we already do in recycling all of our paper, cans and plastic bottles, as well as growing our own vegetables and herbs."
This year funding from Smurfit Kappa Recycling, Smurfit Kappa SSK mill and the Wing Yip Centre has also enabled the Nechells in Bloom group to put up hanging baskets in the area. The Group is reliant on funding from local businesses and help from volunteers to carry out such projects as well as cleaning streets, picking up litter, removing graffiti and clearing weeds. Its efforts were recognised on a national scale with a silver gilt award in the Heart of England In Bloom Competition in 2008.