Vestermose Free School: Students are at the forefront of the circular change

Vestermose Friskole: Elever går forrest i den cirkulære omstilling - Papirværk

Vestermose Natur & Idrætfriskole has become Papirværk Partner. Together with the circular paper factory in Odense, they collect and recycle their discarded paper in Odense and regularly receive new paper products back. In this way, the World Target School contributes to a responsible, circular loop of products, manufactured in Denmark and without added glue, chemicals or wood fibres.

"With the collaboration, we make recycling and circular economy understandable for our students - they will experience what their own discarded paper is transformed into. It does something for the students' motivation to get "new life" out of discarded resources. It has huge value!” – Kathrine Skyum Larsen, deputy head of school.

What happens to your paper waste? Where does it end? What does it turn into? The collaboration will increase students' knowledge of the circular transition, strengthen their knowledge of sorting and resource utilization and inspire responsible consumption and production (FN12).

Papirværk manufactures new products from 100% discarded paper. In addition to the products Vestermose gets back, the free school's paper waste is recycled into Danish-produced paper products, including occasion cards, posters and much more.

Read more here .

When words become action

Vestermose Natur- og Idrætsfriskole is one of the first in the country to be certified as a 2030 school and a world goal school. This means that the global goals are a natural part of the school's teaching, operation and spirit. With the certification, they have committed to work strategically and ambitiously and to let the UN's global goals for sustainable development permeate the entire school and train the students so that they are best equipped for a future that will only get greener.

"As a world-class school, we must take responsibility ourselves and act sustainably and let action follow words. Here, operations are absolutely central. The school's buildings, consumption, purchases and waste management are of great importance to how sustainable and responsible the school is. For us, it is important to pass on to our students that "we can all do something", and that it is precisely about doing something, just a little, so that we can jointly secure the world." – Kathrine Skyum Larsen, deputy head of school.

A complex size

Sustainability can be complex and what do concepts like circular economy and recycling mean? For Papirværk, it's about bringing the small, good stories to the students, which will increase their knowledge of the entire recycling process of their own paper. "The small, green steps can have a big impact. We clearly feel how collaborations with schools and programs have a noticeable effect on students and their motivation for good and responsible paper sorting. We want the students – quite naturally – to see waste as a resource", says Jonas Thorup Langelund from Papirværk.

For Vestermose, it's about taking responsibility and acting sustainably in the school's operation and development: "We support global education, where students gain both knowledge, understanding and experience in acting, creating and interacting. The focus areas are about promoting critical decision-making, action competence and solution orientation, about creating a global perspective and using partnerships actively in teaching - here Papirværk plays an important role!", mentions Kathrine, deputy head of school.

Success through stories from everyday life

Papirværk and Vestermose believe that the collaboration will create ripples in the water for students, parents, employees and business partners and motivate the school's environment to act responsibly. "It's about mindset and culture, and when we plant the first seeds in our young generation, we feel how they inspire, motivate and influence each other for the sustainable transition." - Jonas Thorup Langelund.

Although Papirværk manufactures paper products, the products have not cut down a single tree. The pupils' discarded notes from Danish and mathematics are recycled 1:1, as the manufacturing process does not require new wood fibres.

Kickoff through workshop

It was important to get the collaboration off the ground and make it understandable for the students. That is why Papirværk held a workshop in Vestermose in June and gave the students "pulp" in their hands so that they could transform paper waste into new products. After the drying process, the students could use the products.

"Through the collaboration with Papirværk, our students get hands-on with their own paper waste. They will be able to see that what they send for recycling actually becomes new paper", says Kathrine Skyum Larsen. For a long period of time, the school has had a healthy and responsible approach to their own consumption and to influencing the students in their work with sustainability:

"In the past, we have had whole weeks focusing on recycling, where we have, among other things, upcycled clothes at a workshop, and we have recycled our old school furniture for a newly started independent school nearby. Virtually all of our furniture in the staff room and office is also recycled, old computers are refurbished and end-of-life IT equipment is sent on for circulation elsewhere in the world.”

Become a Papirværk Partner

Read more

See products