Over 11 years Portugal Girl Guides collected enough corks to equal the weight of 32 cars, while also raising money to support children in need.
Portugal is one of the largest exporters of corks in the world. But along with creating a lot of bottle stoppers, this also means creating plenty of waste.
In 2005 the Portuguese Girl Guiding Association launched Action Corkscrew, a national project to collect and recycle corks.
The plan had three simple aims. To reduce waste and educate Guides about environmental challenges, to help the association become more visible and to raise money for a charity in need.
The project was conceived by the national board, and then rolled out on regional and local levels. Each unit sought out cafés, restaurants and family friends to collect corks from. For the businesses they built bins with information about Guiding and the recycling project. Groups would then collect these and sort to ensure only corks were sorted.
The corks were sold to a company called Granorte which broke them down to repurpose for building materials. The money raised was donated to an organisation called Aldeias SOS. The charity cares for children who were in risk and withdrawn from their family.
Action Corkscrew ran from 2005 to 2016. During this time over 32 tons of corks were collected. What is even more impressive is this enormous number of corks was collected by just over 3000 Guides.
To celebrate the end of the project in 2016 each group was asked to create an outdoor sculpture, using corks which communicated an environmental message.
WAGGGS is representing 10 million girls from these 150 locations at Conference of the Parties 24 (COP 24) from 3 to 14 December. You can read more about this work here. Or click here to meet our delegates.