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Pillaging, marauding…and recycling: Pupils inspired by Vikings’ better habits (28 March 2013)

Primary school pupils in Liverpool and the Wirral are taking tips on recycling from the Vikings after teaming up with archaeologists.

The Recycle like a Viking project – part funded by Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA) – aims to show youngsters how, despite their fearsome reputation, the Vikings were the ultimate recycling experts who re-used everything from metal and bone to glass and leather.

Pupils involved in the scheme, developed by Wirral based community interest company Archaeology for Schools, will study the components of the typical Viking wardrobe; learn how even the goriest bits of cows were used to make things and visit the History Hut, a converted  Bromborough shop, and the Museum of Liverpool to find out more about recycling Viking-style.

Youngsters taking part will be encouraged to sign an ecoViking pledge to reduce, re-use and recycle like a Viking at the end of the project. A recent “Viking Day” event at the Museum of Liverpool attracted over 400 people.

MRWA chairperson Councillor Joe DeAsha said: “The Vikings may have a bad image for some but there’s so much we can all learn from the way in which they made maximum use of the materials they had to hand.

“Given Merseyside’s strong Viking heritage it makes complete sense to take some history lessons to encourage today’s children to become more aware of how they can minimise what they throw away in future.”

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Dean Paton, of Archaeology for Schools, said: “As an archaeologist Viking age sites are among the hardest to dig because they really did leave so little rubbish. It’s almost impossible to find evidence of them being around.

“They were rough people in a very rough world but they do have green credentials which can help salvage their reputation.”

The Recycle like a Viking project was one of several which received funding from MRWA’s Community Fund to reduce the amount of waste currently going to landfill, through waste collections, education and workshops that will teach people new skills.

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Picture Captions:

3501 – local youngster Sam Williams (left) and Ben Williams (right), both aged 5 from Wallasey, are given a Viking demonstration

3648 – l to r Ben Williams, Cllr Joe DeAsha, Sam Williams, MRWA Member Cllr Tony Concepcion