During the last three months, over 29,000 Norwegian schoolchildren have collected more than 7.5 million used aluminium tea light cups for recycling. It was an exciting time for 11 first- and second-graders at the Lid school in Sveio in the county of Hordaland, when they learned that they had won this year's Tea Light Hunt.
For the second year in a row, the competition was organized by WWF and IKEA Norway in cooperation with the non-profit recycling organization Green Dot, the commercial recycler Syklus and Hydro. The competition, in which elementary school students try to collect the most aluminium tea light cups, ended January 31.
"With the Tea Light Hunt, we want to help schoolchildren learn about aluminium recycling in a fun and easy way. At the same time, the students are doing important environmental work: by actually collecting the cups, but also as ambassadors, sharing positive environmental attitudes with their communities. It makes me happy and very proud at the same time," says Nina Schefte, head of sustainability at IKEA Norway.
Collected 7,000 tea lights each
In last year's competition, the kids at Lid school in Sveio were county champions in Hordaland. This year they decided to become the best in Norway and collected 78,394 used tea lights in three months, which works out to 7,127 per student.
"The fact that 11 children in grade one and two at a small school in Sveio managed to collect so many, is impressive, to put it mildly. The competition is based on how many tea light cups are collected on average per student, but these 11 students have also managed to collect the second-highest total of all the competing schools! They have shown a great commitment to the environment, which makes them worthy winners of Tea Light Hunt 2013," says Nina Jensen, Secretary General of WWF Norway.
Proud Norwegian champions
Deafening cheers broke out in the classroom when the Tea Light Hunt's mascot, Tom Tealight, turned up at Lid school to congratulate the new champions. He was joined by Sveio Mayor Ruth Grethe Ø. Eriksen and representatives of the organizations behind Tea Light Hunt.
They had the first prize with them – a class tour of Hydro's aluminium plant in Holmestrand.
"It's impressive to see the enormous enthusiasm for aluminium recycling. I am looking forward to showing the pupils from Lid how recycling is actually carried out," says Hydro CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg.
The hunt continues
Although Tea Light Hunt is over for this year, organizers encourage all schoolchildren to continue to hunt for used tea lights and to remain eager contributors to recycling.
"Tea Light Hunt has helped to establish a good routine for collecting tea light cups for recycling. This can make it easier for students and their parents to keep on collecting. The children have learned a lot during the competition about the importance of metal recycling, and we believe that they will encourage recycling at home," says Jensen.