William Penn School’s Green I.T. Team, who were aged 10 and 11 when they did their project, identified the issues surrounding fast fashion and found out that the fashion industry has the second biggest environmental impact on the planet and that it employs one in six of all working age adults globally! For example, a typical t-shirt needs 2,700 litres of water to grow the cotton and create the fabric, and many are then shipped thousands of miles before reaching the shops.
Having realised that what we choose to wear has an impact on our planet, they set themselves a challenge. They were given a Raspberry Pi computer and a budget of £100 to create a way for consumers to get a quick snapshot of the ethical and environmental credentials of the clothes they were buying. Using a barcode scanner, together with a selection of upcycled materials, the children invented an ‘Ethical and Sustainable Clothes Detector’. Using a traffic light system, this barcode has fantastic potential, perhaps for consumers to use a smartphone app to quickly scan a label and find out more about the item of clothing they are considering buying.
YPTE Director, Peter Littlewood, said: “This was a brilliantly original idea and we have never seen anything like it submitted to the Better Energy School Awards before. We loved the clever use of technology, the passion with which the children presented their project in a short video and the fact that they have identified a real problem and come up with the framework for what could become a solution at some point in the future. This is a great example of young people giving adults the lead in how we should be changing our lifestyles to benefit the planet.”