Taking sustainability into schools

8/22/2023 2:35:00 PM
Among the value-added propositions Dennis Eagle offers customers, one stands out as a serial winner: Dennis the Dustcart.

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The cartoon character, based on a Dennis Eagle RCV, was created by author and designer Ash Sharma to engage children in the principles of recycling and environmental sustainability.

Dennis is delivered to primary schools in our customers’ communities, in the form of an engaging storybook loaded with puzzles called Dennis to the Rescue! Recycling at Home.

Inside, pupils learn about Wheelie Good and Wheelie Bad Waste with the help of more cartoon characters. Join the-dot puzzles, crosswords, anagrams and
word searches to help children learn what they can put into recycling bins and what these things can be made into or how they can be reused. And Dennis shows them how all these activities help our planet and how important that is.


Win-win for Dennis

“The book itself is a great concept because Dennis is such an engaging character,” explained Dennis Eagle Marketing Manager Lee Rowland.

“He enables children to form a strong link between this lovable character and real life where they will see real Dennis dustcarts going down their streets collecting their recycling.

“And the educational experience doesn’t end there. Children take the book home and get their parents to help them and that gets them engaged too – including some of those who aren’t recycling at the moment.

“Just ask yourself: would you throw recycling into the waste bin if you knew your children were going to pull you up about it?”


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Pupils at Blackwood Primary School in Walsall learn about recycling the fun way.


Lessons in a dustcart

The books are produced by Ash’s company Skips Educational and co-branded with Dennis Eagle and sometimes the local authority. The lesson content is amended each time to fit in with a specific local authority’s approach to recycling. Dennis can even get a livery to match the council’s colours.

And the idea has been so successful, it has developed even further. The books now spearhead a package which involves Dennis Eagle, Ash, local authorities and schools working together to deliver assemblies and lesson plans for teachers.

The Dennis Eagle mobile classroom – built from an old RCV that had reached the end of its natural working life – often visits the schools too.

The messages are simple so children can understand them but that means parents can too. And there are even notes pointing parents to the council’s website for full details of recycling in their area.


Invaluable resources

Dennis teaches them about everything, from the difference between ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates on food to the benefits of giving old toys to charity shops ... and it can be tailored to the specific needs of each local authority.


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Teaching children about recycling and environmental responsibility is high on primary schools’ agendas. And with increasingly limited resources, demand for the total package continues to grow. During the pandemic lockdowns, when children were not in schools, our partner Skips Educational Ltd created more Dennis the Dustcart colouring in pages. We sent a new page every week to customers and colleagues and asked parents to send the finished artwork to us. In return, we sent them Dennis Eagle goodies.

“It was a small gesture but the response was terrific!” added Lee.