16 March, 2014

In Partnership with PepsiCo, the 2014 DGrade Plastic Challenge is underway in Schools across UAE

Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 16th March 2014In partnership with PepsiCo's Aquafina water brand, DGrade, the clothing manufacturer specialising in fabrics made from recycled plastic, is encouraging young people across the UAE to recycle their plastic bottles.

In Partnership with PepsiCo, the 2014 DGrade Plastic Challenge is underway in Schools across UAE
PepsiCo's Aquafina water joins hands with The 2014 DGrade Plastic Challenge to raise awareness amongst students on the importance of recycling

Educating students on the importance of recycling in a fun way

Preparing tomorrow's environmentalists.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 16th March 2014

In partnership with PepsiCo's Aquafina water brand, DGrade, the clothing manufacturer specialising in fabrics made from recycled plastic, is encouraging young people across the UAE to recycle their plastic bottles.

The Gulf produces 75-80 thousand metric tons of plastic waste and of this 50-60 thousand tons or around three quarters of the total are plastic bottles. The Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), which most plastic bottles are made of, can be recycled and used in many items such as polyester yarn and clothing.

The DGrade Plastic Challenge comprises two competitions to encourage young people across the UAE to recycle. The plastic bottle collection campaign, which is led by DULSCO in Abu Dhabi and UPM (Union Paper Mills) in Dubai, is open to 30 schools. The award will go to the winning school that collects the largest amount of plastic during the Spring/Summer term.

The Design Competition is open to all schools taking part in the plastic bottle collection campaign. Pupils are encouraged to create a t-shirt design and the winner will have their design printed on a t-shirt made of 3 plastic bottles.

One finalist from each school will win the opportunity to meet Professor Penguin at Ski Dubai and create their own penguin using recycled plastic bottles. The Banyan Tree in Ras Al Khaimah is also offering students in the winning class a field trip to Al Wadi Field, which includes an introduction to falconry and archery as well as informative talks on basic ecology.

The winning design will be auctioned at a public gallery in Dubai, along with Plastic Fish, a commissioned original canvas by the UK street artist, Mau Mau. The 1.5m square artwork features a fish made entirely out of recyclable plastics, which are often found to contaminate our oceans. All the funds raised will be donated to Dubai Cares.

Edgar Valladares, PepsiCo's Environmental Sustainability and Compliance Director at PepsiCo Asia, Middle East and Africa, said the company is delighted to be involved in raising environmental awareness: "Educating young people about the importance of recycling is something that we are passionate about. We have an important role to play to encourage reducing the amount of plastic that is going into landfills not just the UAE but also across the region and DGrade's initiative is a great starting point." 

Environmental sustainability is a major part of PepsiCo's mission of Performance with Purpose. This aims to achieve its commitments to the "5 Rs"; to reduce, recycle, use renewable sources, remove environmentally sensitive materials and promote the reuse of packaging in the entire process of packaging selection, design and procurement. PepsiCo is committed to increase the recyclability of its products' packaging and to make sure that its containers utilize materials that are compatible with accessible recycling systems. Aquafina bottles that include the cap, label and multipack outer wrap are 100 per cent recyclable.

To launch the 2014 program, DGrade and PepsiCo representatives will be visiting the schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi from the end of March onwards to discuss the competition with students, and to show them that beautiful products can be made from recycled plastic bottles. 

"Our aim is to spread awareness among youngsters about the unique process of converting environmentally damaging plastic waste into a high quality end product. Our goal is to change the phrase, 'One man's trash is another man's treasure' to 'everyone's trash is everyone's treasure' said Kris Barber, CEO of DGrade Ltd.

Barber added: "Our 2014 Plastic Challenge tells everyone that plastic has been mass produced since the 1950's and every piece that has ever been produced is still on the planet today - because plastic can take hundreds or even thousands of years to biodegrade and therefore it does not 'go away'.

"It is important to be able to tap into the consumer mindset at an early age if we are to make a lasting difference. DGrade conducted the first pilot Challenge in 2012 when 15 schools took part and collected over two tons of plastic bottles in just over a month. This year the number of participant schools has more than doubled which shows that children are keen to recycle given the opportunity to do so especially if supported by their teachers and parents."

The school that collects the most amount of plastic during their Spring/Summer term will be declared winners of the DGrade Plastic Collection Campaign. The best designs from each school from the T-Shirt Design Competition will be shown at a public gallery and the winning design will be printed on a T-shirt made using 3 plastic bottles and auctioned with proceeds going to charity.


The winning school for the design competition will receive a trophy as well as the winning design printed on a T-shirt- made using three materials produced by recycled plastic bottles- and framed as a gift.

Last Year's Finalist's and Winners:

Plastic Collection Campaign
Over 2.3 tons of plastic was collected during the DGrade 2012 Plastic Challenge and the winners of Plastic Collection Campaign were the Boys Wings from Our Own English School (Sharjah) who collected 640kg of plastic.

T-Shirt Design Competition
Marina D' Almeida Bianco (Gems Wellington Primary School), Niraj Nair (English College Primary School) and Simon Delden (Dubai International Academy) were declared winners of the T-Shirt Design Competition. The winning designs were then printed on T-Shirts made using 3 plastic bottles were sold at AED30 each, and AED5/shirt were sent to Kibera.

By way of highlighting the effects of Plastic Pollution on desert animals, DGrade linked with Camelicious farm (the Makers of Camelicious Chocolates and Milk Shakes) the finalists of the T-Shirt Design Competition were treated to a day out at the Camel Farm to learn about how Camels are affected by Plastic in the desert. Other sponsors included Emrill who kindly supported some of the costs of printing the material needed to host the event.

About DGrade
DGrade is a company that manufactures clothing and accessories, exclusively using recycled plastic bottles. They provide a bespoke manufacturing B2B service for companies looking to source ECO friendly garments and can recreate any Polyester products using their unique manufacturing process. They have spent the past 7 years developing over 150 different fabrics and this year's Plastic Challenge will be a perfect opportunity for schools to collect plastic bottles which can then be recycled back into school uniforms. It is hoped that the Plastic Challenge initiative will encourage other companies to recycle at source and help reduce the huge amounts of Plastic currently going in to Landfill.

For further information please contact Challenge@dgrade.com

About PepsiCo
PepsiCo is a global food and beverage leader with net revenues of more than $65 billion and a product portfolio that includes 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in annual retail sales.  Our main businesses - Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay and Pepsi-Cola - make hundreds of enjoyable foods and beverages that are loved throughout the world. PepsiCo's people are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth by investing in a healthier future for people and our planet, which we believe also means a more successful future for PepsiCo.  We call this commitment Performance with Purpose: PepsiCo's promise to provide a wide range of foods and beverages from treats to healthy eats; to find innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment by conserving energy and water and reducing packaging volume; to provide a great workplace for our associates; and to respect, support and invest in the local communities where we operate. As a company that is environmentally driven, taking care of the environment is one of PepsiCo's strong commitments. Its environmental initiatives aim at innovating the packaging o its products to become increasingly sustainable and eliminate solid waste to landfills from the production facilities. Youth empowerments is also a major focus for PepsiCo through promoting student education and help build the leaders of tomorrow.... For more information, please visit www.pepsico.com.

For further information on PepsiCo please contact:
Sameh Hamtini/ Raya Chamoun
ASDA'A Burson-Marsteller 
Tel: +971 (0) 4 4507 600
Email: sameh.hamtini@bm.com; raya.chamoun@bm.com

About Mau Mau
Mau Mau is a UK artist that has been painting street pieces for the past 15 years. Combining stencils and free hand, his languid style and distinctive characters make his work instantly recognizable. Constantly painting, all over the world, Mau Mau art brightens up spots from Bangkok klongs to Hackney canals, Glastonbury festival to the Trenchtown frontier and Devon barns to the Berlin Wall.  One of the street art talents to gain recognition in the wake of the Banksy frenzy, Mau Mau has never been one to shy away from big issues. His designs document the times and come wrapped in dark humor. The influence of music has run through his work, from protest art against the illegalization of free parties to artwork on projects for the likes of Herbalizer, Estelle, Dizzee Rascal and Roots Manuva. Since 2010, his cartoony designs have won him an international fan base. In Japan, the images are so popular they were studiously reproduced on the outdoor set of a popular TV soap.

© Press Release 2014

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