The school year is starting in style for hundreds of Western Cape pupils whose anxious parents, unable to equip them with appropriate equipment, watched happily as the learners received funky pencil cases, chair bags and school backpacks recycled from old vinyl advertising billboards.
The Ads to Bags campaign has given the vinyl skins from old BP advertising billboards a second life as useful school products.
And BP has used it to mark for beginning of a new dawn for learners at Injongo Primary School in Khayelitsha, giving them new bags to start the school year.
Renny Letswalo, Head of BP Retail, says the Ads for Bags campaign supports SA children’s hopes and dreams by giving them practical and durable tools that enhance their education and replace the need to buy traditional, pricy school suitcase and other stationery.
“Not only are the kids starting the new school year with colourful new equipment but we are benefitting the environment by recycling while also creating jobs.
“There is a massive positive ripple effect on jobs and skills development as the Ekukhanyeni Community Development Centre, which employs out-of-work women, is being taught how to recycle the material and produce all the merchandise for our supplier, Black Rain.
“It’s a simple idea but the benefits are multiple: the learners get supplies, the women get employment and the vinyl doesn’t end up in a landfill or incinerators.
“But the best part is the excitement on the children’s faces. We have provided them with the type of school items that more privileged pupils take for granted.
“We hope this will become an annual project and that we can reach even more than the 8 000 learners will be reaching across South Africa in 2013.”
Consumers can get involved by helping BP select schools to benefit from the campaign from a list that will be posted on the BP website. For more information about Ads to Bags, visit www.bp.co.za and click on the “CSI” tab.
Because BP only has a limited quantity of old advertising billboards it is able to recycle, it is driving the call for other companies to partner in the campaign and recycle their advertising material in similar fashion.
Any brands that would like to donate their old billboards can contact the BP team via its website and BP will incur the cost of recycling the material on their behalf. Primedia and Black Rain have already taken up BP’s call and donated to the cause.
“It’s a great way to give your advertising a second life and, at the same time, have a positive impact on the life of others,” she says.