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Ellen MacArthur Challenges Bangor Academy Students to Rethink Rubbish

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MacAuthur-Challenage-webBangor Academy Biology students attended Dame Ellen MacArthur’s Project ReDesign workshop at the Ulster Hall in Belfast yesterday (22 March 2011).

It was the fourth of 5 events that The Dame Ellen MacArthur Foundation was running across the UK this March. The aim of the day was to come up with solutions to cut the amount of rubbish going into landfill.

Posing the question “Is waste just bad design?” students had to rethink the materials we use and try to see ways waste can become a material opportunity in another business or process.

Dame Ellen MacArthur said:

“The team at the Foundation was extremely excited to have such an enthusiastic and engaging group of young people attend, and the atmosphere in the room was absolutely fantastic. The challenge set for these young people was not easy, nor was working out how to put forward their ideas around the task itself, but the outcome was exactly what we were hoping for.

The students were amazing - showing how much more skilled they are than older generations at thinking outside the box. Bangor Academy, along with the 18 other school groups who attended put forward really valid points and surprised us with their ability to re-think the future and re-design a system.

The workshops gave the students the opportunity to work collaboratively, to consult with representatives from four of the leading blue-chip companies in the UK, to present their work to me and to experience first hand some leading-edge thinking about the circular economy.

Just to be at the workshop was an achievement in itself as the places were highly competitive. We encourage the students to ensure they represent the experience in their CVs as they will be amongst only 1000 students across the UK to have participated in this ground-breaking event.

When I left sailing behind 5 years ago to focus on the creation of the Foundation it was a big gamble and a step into the unknown. Today though - these students showed that what we are doing at the Foundation is more than worthwhile. They were truly inspiring and gave me great faith in what we are doing. They see re-designing the future more as an opportunity than a challenge and their positive attitudes are truly contagious.”