An innovative school educational programme that teaches children about the importance of sustainable packaging and the circular economy has won the Information and Education category at the 2019 European Paper Recycling Awards.

Pro Carton’s TICCIT (Trees Into Cartons, Cartons Into Trees) programme was announced as the winner at the annual awards ceremony at the European Parliament in Brussels on 21 January 2020 with the awards presented by Swedish MEP Ms Jytte Guteland who is a Member of the European Parliament Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.

The scheme, which was originally devised by The Paperboard Packaging Council in the USA, where it has achieved great success with over 115,000 children having participated to date and every child gets to plant a sapling in a cardboard box! It was launched into Europe by Pro Carton, the European Association of Carton and Cartonboard Manufacturers in 2018 and rolled out across the continent in 2019.

Having received an overwhelmingly positive response from schools across Europe, TICCIT educates the next generation about the benefits of sustainable paper-based packaging and the importance of recycling. Young students get taught about the important role that trees play in the environment and at the end of the lesson get to pot a sapling into a cartonboard box filled with soil which they can then plant into their garden, highlighting the biodegradable nature of the material. Planting trees is, of course, one of the most effective ways of combatting global warming.

The TICCIT programme is presented by staff from companies within the carton industry who go into their local schools using the teaching materials produced by Pro Carton.  The programme is now available in 8 languages.

The reception from both teachers and children has been incredibly positive with everyone enjoying the experience.  One teacher remarked: “They were so proud of their trees and it was lovely to see them all so excited about showing their trees to their families. I have never seen them so engaged in something! A great learning experience for all involved.”  

Another said that “The children were fascinated to learn about trees and the many ways in which we use them.  They really enjoyed getting their hands dirty digging in the dirt and planting their saplings to take home!”

Equally, the programme has enthused the participating companies: “It’s been brilliant for our workers, stakeholders and local communities alike. It’s a real chance to bring everyone together and explain the circular lifecycle of cartons.”

Tony Hitchin, General Manager of Pro Carton added: “We are delighted the TICCIT programme has been recognised by the European Paper Recycling Awards because it reinforces the both the importance of the campaign and the success of the programme. Schools across Europe have been keen to participate in TICCIT, with many teachers expressing their thoughts on the effectiveness of the scheme and its ability to teach young students about the environmentally friendly properties of cartonboard.  Learning is so much easier when you’re having fun, and TICCIT provides that.”