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Kids inspire MOO yoghurt switch to tubs made from recycled beach plastic

Clare Peddie, June 19, 2022 2:30PM Kids News

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Minnie Sanders, 11, and Parkside Primary school classmate Nevada Maio, 11, are proud questions asked at a careers day at their school led MOO yoghurt to create environmentally friendly tubs and lids using 100 per cent recycled plastic washed up on beaches. Picture: Keryn Stevens media_cameraMinnie Sanders, 11, and Parkside Primary school classmate Nevada Maio, 11, are proud questions asked at a careers day at their school led MOO yoghurt to create environmentally friendly tubs and lids using 100 per cent recycled plastic washed up on beaches. Picture: Keryn Stevens

environment

Reading level: green

An Aussie yoghurt producer is using tubs made from 100 per cent recycled plastic washed up on beaches in Malaysia – thanks to a group of South Australian primary school kids.

MOO Premium Foods founder Mick Sanders was prompted* to source recycled plastic packaging after a barrage* of unexpected questions at a Parkside Primary School careers day three years ago.

Mr Sanders said he went to his daughter’s school thinking the students would ask about how yoghurt was made.

“Instead, they fired questions at me about what MOO was doing to be sustainable* and reduce its impact on the environment,” Mr Sanders said.

“I was really surprised by their interest and knowledge about environmental issues, and I knew we had to do more.”

MOO Yoghurt tubs media_cameraMOO Premium Foods founder Mick Sanders (centre) shows off the resin used to make the recycled yoghurt tubs and lids held by his daughter, Minnie (left) and her friend, Nevada Maio. Picture: Keryn Stevens

The family-owned business started working with local manufacturer* TechnoPlas and made contact with a Malaysian company that converts waste plastic collected from the ocean, beaches and waterways into food-grade* plastic resin*.

MOO imports this resin and TechnoPlas moulds it into the yoghurt tubs and lids.

Mr Sanders said this was the first time in Australia that food-grade packaging had been made from 100 per cent reclaimed* “Ocean Bound Plastic”, which is plastic waste found in the ocean or within 50km of a coastline and considered at risk of ending up as marine debris*.

media_cameraPlastic waste is a problem on beaches around the world, including at Kuta on the Indonesian island of Bali in December 2017. Picture: AFP Photo

“At the very least, we knew we’d be able to make a yoghurt tub from a mix of new and reclaimed plastic, but we really wanted to push the boundaries*,” he said.

“To finally see the resin and realise it could successfully be made into 100 per cent reclaimed Ocean Bound Plastic tubs was fantastic.”

Mr Sanders’ youngest daughter, Minnie, 11, is in Year 6 at Parkside Primary, where her older sister Ruby’s class took part in that fateful* 2019 careers day, which set MOO on the path to sustainability*.

“I’m pretty proud because when you think about it, it’s a big step,” Minnie said. “And it came from kids.”

GLOSSARY

  • prompted: encouraged or caused something to happen
  • barrage: an overwhelming quantity
  • sustainable: using resources in a way that is not likely to damage the environment
  • manufacturer: a person or company that makes goods for sale
  • food-grade: of a quality good enough to be used with food products
  • plastic resin: a material that is turned into plastic products including drink bottles, food packaging and bags
  • reclaimed: claimed back, retrieved, recovered
  • debris: scattered pieces of rubbish or remains
  • push the boundaries: try harder, go further than accepted limits
  • fateful: having a very important effect on the future
  • sustainability: causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue for a long time

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. Which country is the plastic used in MOO’s yoghurt tubs sourced from?
  2. What event was Mick Sanders attending when he decided MOO’s yoghurt tubs should become more sustainable?
  3. What primary school was this event being held at?
  4. What did Mr Sanders expected to be asked about during this event?
  5. What is Ocean Bound Plastic?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Persuasive writing
Write a letter to Australia’s other food and beverage manufacturers, encouraging more of them to produce their packaging from 100 per cent reclaimed “Ocean Bound Plastics”, like MOO. What reasons can you give to persuade them? Think carefully about how to make your points clear and convincing.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Sustainability

2. Extension
Create a clever print advertisement for MOO yoghurt that lets the public know about their product and its sustainable packaging.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Sustainability; Visual Arts

VCOP ACTIVITY
To sum it up
After reading the article, use your comprehension skills to summarise in a maximum of three sentences what the article is about.

Think about:

  • What is the main topic or idea?
  • What is an important or interesting fact?
  • Who was involved (people or places)?

Use your VCOP skills to re-read your summary to make sure it is clear, specific and well punctuated.

Extra Reading in environment