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From Old to New: Upcycling Projects at the GESM

by Ute Massow, Manuela Czech & Valerie Cornelissen

On Monday, June 27, the students' school bags were filled with unusual work utensils. Instead of notebooks and books, there were empty tetra packs, metal cans, screw-top jars and other recyclable material.

The mixed groups from the English- and German-speaking sections met in their rooms and first looked through the "waste" they had brought with them. In the second step, creative ideas were collected to make something new out of the old.

It was amazing to see what was produced at the end of the day. In the German Primary, plain jam jars were transformed into unusually attractive lanterns through macramé, and tetra packs were transformed into flower pots. Jewelry beads were made from book pages and magazines in all departments. The range of products was diverse, homemade rockets, artwork with interesting color gradients, shoes made of plastic, pen holders made of paper rolls, lanterns made of plastic bottles, furniture for cats, a floating armchair, board games and much, much more.

This day showed that we, as a UNESCO school, are putting the guiding principle of sustainability into practice through another action and teaching the students how to use everyday resources responsibly. In addition, the students were able to experience what it means to be part of a global community.

- Manuela Czech und Ute Massow


If two years of quarantining has taught us anything, it is to be resilient. Being a UNESCO school, we wanted to focus on sustainability to conclude this school year's endeavors. Monday we focus on showing the students how trash can be re-used, a.k.a. "upcycled". All students we placed in different groups and were asked to bring in recycled materials. Each class produced different results and showed how material that we discard can find a second life by using a little imagine and team work. Some students produced art work, others made wallets out of milk cartons, a floatable chair for the pool out of plastic containers, and other made decorations, an organizer, cat furniture, masks, basketball hoops, etc.

- Valerie Cornelissen


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