Article published March 31. 2010 01:01AM
Art for trash's sake::

By Tricia Walters

More than 20 schools are participating in a Three-Rs project with a difference. Organised by Keep Bermuda Beautiful (KBB) and the Ministry of Works and Engineering, students are using their artistic talents to decorate and reuse plastic drums that will ultimately be used as trash and recycling bins at their schools.

The painted trash bins will be on show, and for use, at the Annual Exhibition later this month. Once the Exhibition ends, they will be returned to the participating schools for use on the school grounds.

Earlier this year, Vanese Flood Gordon, Waste Education and Enforcement Officer for the Ministry of Works and Engineering, organised the project in an effort to reuse some of the drums that, until now, have simply been destroyed at Tynes Bay.

The drums were originally shipped to Bermuda containing chemicals used in the Government's reverse osmosis water purification plant.

"It seemed such a waste," she explains. "We couldn't send the drums back to the US for refilling because of the cost involved, so by doing this, we are reusing the drums, and getting the schools involved in a recycling project in the process. The project was designed to demonstrate the three Rs — Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, and the principles of Waste In Place.

"We are reducing waste by giving the barrels a second life, reusing the barrels and old paints for decoration, and creating usable trash and recycling bins in the process. This is an opportunity for the students to really learn that you don't need to buy something — you can create new things out of the old. Also, the eye catching designs should encourage both young and old to put waste in place — trash in the trash bins and recyclables in the recycling bins."

Each participating school received two drums, already coated with a primer — thanks to Pembroke Paints. The company gave KBB and the Ministry a discount on the primer and even donated a few gallons. However, owner David Swift and shop assistant, Jovette Trott, simply could not resist painting two the drums to see what it would look like.

"It was a lot of fun doing this," Mr. Swift said with a broad smile as he showed the drums off to the public for the first time.

Mrs. Flood Gordon said the response from schools had been tremendous and next year KBB hopes to get all the schools involved and possibly turn this creative project into a competition.