Rotorua kids are learning the value of recycling, with one kindy's latest efforts earning its pupils the chance to plant 17 new trees.
Little Lights Kindy children planted the trees this week, after earning them in the national Paper4trees school recycling education programme. The programme, which launched in Rotorua in 2006, has seen students from 116 schools divert more than 1300 tonnes of paper and cardboard away from landfills. In return, they have received 5113 trees to plant.
Little Lights Kindy manager Fiona Smith said they received a tree when they collected a certain amount of recycled paper, such as the children's old art work or paper that parents brought in.
"It's a really good scheme and the kids help with the recycling."
Mrs Smith said the kindy joined the programme because it wanted more trees in the playground and it believed in recycling, reusing and renewing.
The children were enjoying planting the trees and were quite enthusiastic, she said.
Riley Crabtree, 4, said he liked watering the trees and he thought they would look nice when they had grown.
Paper4trees national manager Hope Lawsen said passing the 5000 tree mark was an impressive effort from Rotorua schools.
"While these students have been earning and planting all those trees, they've made some big, impressively positive environmental impacts.
"Their recycling work has saved more than 10,500 cubic metres of landfill space."
Ms Lawsen said Rotorua's Four Winds Foundation and Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust had donated thousands of dollars to ensure schools could participate.
This year, schools are also receiving help from the Bin Inn Retail Group.
The company's administrator, Tim Beresford, travelled from Tauranga to help Rotorua kindy pupils plant their trees.
"We're so thrilled to see kids learning such important concepts so early," he said.
Paper4trees is in more than 4000 schools, including 92 per cent of Rotorua's primary, intermediate and high schools, and 75 per cent of preschools.