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UCLan student creates eco-friendly fun for kids through unique project

24 June 2015

Sarah Jones

Kim wins Ethical Award at Graduate Fashion Week for final year project  

A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) student has developed a new ethically aware and eco-friendly water product as part of her final year studies.

Fashion and brand promotion with business student Kimberley Jayne Ward, 26, from Mossley, Manchester, has created a unique idea of buildable water bottles for children, inspired by the way they are able to build and learn with Lego. The bottles connect end on end and side by side.

Her idea is that whatever you may traditionally be able to build out of Lego, you can build on a massive scale with the brand new Volvic Connect.

“It’s been put in place in order to demonstrate the concept of recycling to young children. They know they should recycle, but they don’t really understand why. So it’s a way to show them more visually that you can use materials to build other things for different outcomes,” the former Mossley Hollins High School and Manchester College student explained.

Kim’s idea, which also won the Ethical Award at this year’s Graduate Fashion week in London, will help the environment alongside educating children about recycling.

Kim’s idea, which also won the Ethical Award at this year’s Graduate Fashion Week in London, will help the environment alongside educating children about recycling. It removes a manufacturing process, due to the bottles connecting and there is no requirement for additional packaging either – saving 17,000 kg of plastic each year with 100% recyclable bottles.

Kim originally looked at how consumers can prolong the use of plastic. Examining third world countries through her research she discovered they were taping masses of plastic bottles together just to get by. Inspired by this, she looked at ways that bottles could connect with no other materials involved.

Noticing how there was a big gap in the market, Kim discovered that many parents with young children wanted their children to be health conscious and drink more water – but they simply found it boring.

She has also developed the brand so it would work in line with Lego Education; participating schools would be provided with a syllabus for hands-on learning and creative play opportunities. These actively incorporate Lego and the bottles of water too.

“I have designed an app where you can use an augmented reality camera feature and you can scan around the room or outside and it picks up things that you can make out of bottles.”

“I have designed an app where you can use an augmented reality camera feature and you can scan around the room or outside and it picks up things that you can make out of bottles.” Kim remarked.

The app not only provides details of what things in the room you could make out of bottles, but also building instructions and a guide to how many bottles you would need to achieve it too.

Kim has also suggested a Community Connect website as part of the project; a community portal for anyone interested in buying or using the product. It revolves around Community Connect events and anyone who goes into a supermarket or buys the product is presented with a coupon, similar to existing school vouchers.

The coupon gives them information on where they can donate their bottles and help towards their local community connect creation. The winning community then gets a fully digitalised hub and youth club for their area. Actively bringing communities together and saving the environment too.

Kim plans on taking the unique and special idea even further as she revealed that she has been in contact with Volvic themselves, who were eager to learn more about her idea following on from her Graduate Fashion Week award win.

“They were really keen to hear more about the idea. I’m emailing them with a summary of the idea and I’m hoping that something will come from that,” she said.