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24 May 2024
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On January 24th, Bord na Móna Recycling launched the Primary Schools Upcycling Competition, offering schools across Ireland the chance to win €5000 with students from the winning class receiving a guided tour of Bord na Móna’s Lough Boora Discovery Park as well as Mountlucas Wind Farm in Offaly.

Students were encouraged to repurpose discarded materials into innovative and functional creations, using materials that would typically be considered waste or discarded items.

We are now excited to announce the Top 10 Finalists.

With over 500 entries received we were truly inspired by the creativity, effort, and passion demonstrated from schools across Ireland, making the judging process and selection of finalists a challenging task.

The following 10 entries have now been shortlisted, with each showcasing an incredible level of ingenuity and a deep commitment to sustainability.


Bottle Tops Sign

Borris NS, Carlow

30 enthusiastic 5th-class students collaborated to create a vibrant bottle caps sign representing their diverse interests and activities at school. This inspiring project quickly unitied the support of the entire school community, including eight classes, parents, and teachers, who all came together to collect an array of colourful bottle caps. The result is a meticulously crafted masterpiece, rich in detail and colour, which will proudly beautify the school, symbolising unity and artistic expression for years to come.




Brennans & Tayto Jacket and Dress 

Broombridge Educate Together NS, Dublin

In an inspiring demonstration of creativity and resourcefulness, six students from the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th classes, all members of their school’s Fashion Design Club, have designed and crafted a stunning outfit. Embracing the challenge to exceed our standard guidelines, these talented students chose to use exclusively “Irish Waste” materials. The dress fashioned from Tayto crisp packets, and the accompanying jacket, made from Brennan’s bread wrappers, together symbolize an Irish crisp sandwich. Their innovative designs were showcased in a mini fashion shoot, where the pride and joy on their faces were evident as they modeled their remarkable creations.


Fence Around New Trees

Gaelscoil Chaladh an Treoigh, Limerick

For this entry the Green School Committee and Student Council of Gaelscoil Chaladh an Treoigh had recently planted new trees around the school playground before they decided to enter the competition. These committees were made up of 32 students from 2nd class up to 6th class. They decided this would be a great opportunity to come up with a solution to their new problem, that stray footballs from their playground were damaging the branches of their newly planted trees. To address this, they decided to build a protective fence using old pallets donated by the local community. The students designed the fence, taking up an entire classroom floor, before constructing and painting it with their unique designs and the school’s name. This initiative not only solved their problem but also showcased their commitment to sustainability.


School Crest Sign 

Kilmyshall N.S, Wexford

This 6th class project shows the school’s crest in a sustainable landscape. Collecting and utilizing old materials such as clothes, keys, and egg cartons, this project exemplified teamwork and creativity. The final product, a testament to their collective effort, and now proudly welcomes everyone to their school at the school’s entrance.





Failte Romhat Letters 

Moneystown NS, Wicklow

Students from two class years collaborated to craft a welcome sign for their school. They collected various types of waste, including cereal boxes, ice cream spoons, bottle caps, wooden letters, pegs, toy car wheels, buttons, jigsaw pieces, and keys. These items were meticulously glued onto the letters cut from cereal boxes and then painted for a cohesive look, resulting in a vibrant and welcoming display.






Scoil Mhuire, Donegal

All 114 students at Scoil Mhuire participated in creating two beautiful mosaics from leftover wall tiles. Old broken tiles from a local tile shop were repurposed to prevent them from ending up in a landfill. Each student took turns cutting and glueing the tiles onto pre-drawn templates. The remaining tiles were donated to a local Art Farm for further use in workshops, emphasising community involvement and environmental responsibility.



Bug Hotel & Garden

St Isidores NS, Tipperary

First and second class students at St Isidores N.S. transformed their outdoor area with an upcycled garden project. They planted vegetables in halved oil tanks donated by a local farmer, painted old tractor tires for use as benches and flower beds, and created a bug hotel using old pots, bricks, twigs, and bamboo, with assistance from 6th class students. This garden serves as a creative outdoor learning space about nature and sustainability.



Sensory Board & Song

St Marys Primary School, Westmeath

A small group of 1st and 6th class students designed an inclusive sensory board accompanied by a song to enhance fine motor skills and sensory experiences. They repurposed items such as soap dispensers, coins, used scratched cake board, broken chair legs, old toys, kitchen utensils, and more. This thoughtful project underscores the importance of inclusivity and creativity in learning environments.




Bicycle Flower Pots 

St Oliver Plunketts NS, Meath

This colourful welcome display was constructed by 2 students one in 4th and the other in 6th class. They spray-painted an old bicycle, repurposed old baskets and a helmet, and planted beautiful flowers in them. This vibrant display now greets everyone at the school reception, demonstrating the students’ ingenuity and dedication to upcycling.





Bath Seat

The Downs NS, Westmeath

This old iron bath was being thrown out due to a bathroom renovation and used by 5th & 6th class students who had the idea of repurposing it into a stylish upcycled couch. With the help of a parent who cut the bath in half, the students used the offcuts to make cushions, stuffed with foam from old cushions. The couch, supported by legs made from old pallets, is now a cherished seating area in the school, showcasing the creativity and practical skills of the students.



The overall competition winner will be announced on Monday, May 27th on and our social media channels.

We would like to wish the finalists the very best of luck and thank all the schools for their participation and dedication to upcycling and environmental awareness.

Your involvement has helped to raise awareness about the importance of upcycling and waste reduction whilst inspiring your students. We look forward to your continued involvement in our future competitions and initiatives.