Photo Credit: St. Mary's Waverley

10-year-old Ella encouraged her school to start collecting bottle tops and bread tags as a way to help others access wheelchairs, now she hopes to inspire more people to help.


Johannesburg, South Africa (23 May 2022) – Ella Sproule started collecting bottle tops, and bread tags for the Sweethearts Foundation in 2018 after her granny’s friend Maureen lost her battle with cancer. The then 5-year-old was introduced to the foundation’s work by Maureen and became inspired to give back.

According to her mom, Fiona Sproule, Ella had been growing in her environmental activism activities. She started at home by banning straws in the house as well as making sure every family member picked up at least three pieces of plastic during their beach visits.

Today, she is still as passionate about saving the environment and gifting wheelchairs to those in need. Ella took the concept to her school, St. Mary’s Waverley, and before long, the whole school was collecting bread tags and bottle tops for the Sweethearts Foundation. The foundation recycles these plastic items and uses the funds to buy underprivileged people much-needed wheelchairs.

Now at the age of 10, Ella has seen that due to Covid, the collection numbers have dropped. She hopes to inspire people to start collecting the little plastic bits and dropping them off at her school.

Speaking to Jessica Gordon, the manager of the Sweethearts Foundation’s Johannesburg branch, she shared that in 2021 Ella and St. Mary’s collected around 262.6kg of bottle tops. It is a great help when large schools, organisations and businesses take up the cause as it means the ability to collect meaningful amounts to purchase wheelchairs goes up. However, even one person can make a difference,

Deputy Headmistress Di Gordon shared that the school has several ways they recycle on the property but being able to recycle in this manner and give back to those in need, is a very rewarding effort for all the young girls involved. They use the tops as currency for house points, and each young girl that brings in 10 tops earns her house points.

They hope the higher levels at the school will soon start getting more involved in this unique project. They do contribute but not in the numbers that Ella has managed to get her fellow learners to donate. Hopefully, soon, all the years will get involved, and they can collect more than the fantastic 262.6kgs from 2021.

Ella hopes that more people will support this cause as it is so easy to do so. You can contact the Sweethearts Foundation if you want to get your school involved; they will be able to direct you to the nearest branch in your area for ease of drop-off.

Sources: GTG Interview
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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